The rivalry between the Tkachuk brothers will be stronger this year

HENDERSON, Nev. – Brady Tkachuk turns 23 on Friday, and what better way to be in Las Vegas than to celebrate a birthday?

That’s what the Ottawa Senators forward was planning to do Thursday night with his brother Matthew Tkachuk Florida Panthers. The brothers Jack and quinn hughes also had to be part of the party, just like Robert Thomaswho are gathered in the region as part of the North American NHL Player Media Tour.

« I don’t know all the details, but I know it’s going to end late, » Tkachuk said. The fact that we are several players all together in Vegas, we are going to have fun tonight, that’s for sure. »

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Obviously, the relationship between the Tkachuk brothers has not changed, although Matthew will now play in the same section as his brother following the trade that sent him from the Calgary Flames to the Florida Panthers on July 22. The bond between the two, who claim to be each other’s biggest supporters, is still very strong.

But the two brothers quickly realized that the trade changed the dynamic on the ice now that the two will face each other more often.

“We were really happy when [la transaction] happened, told Brady Tkachuk. But suddenly we realized it wouldn’t be fun matches anymore. These will be games with a huge stake from now on. »

This season, the two Tkachuk will meet three times, including October 29 in Florida for their first duel. And who knows, maybe they will meet in the playoffs.

Matthew signed an eight-year contract with the Panthers following the trade, while Brady has six years left on his deal with the Senators.

“It will be four-point games. There’s a lot at stake,” said Matthew, who, at 24, had career highs last season with 42 goals, 62 assists and 104 points in 82 games in Calgary. “I’m sure we’ll eventually cross swords in the playoffs. We are talking about many important clashes for many years. »

The Panthers (58-18-6) won the Presidents’ Trophy with 122 points last season and should once again be strong contenders for the Stanley Cup. Although the Senators (33-42-7) finished seventh in the Atlantic Division last season, they are optimistic about their chances of making the playoffs for the first time since 2017, especially since they added attackers Claude Giroux and Alex DeBrincat as well as the guardian Cam Talbot to their promising young core.

« Eventually we’re going to play each other in the playoffs, and one of us is going to go home, » said Brady, who also recorded individual bests with 30 goals, 37 assists and 67 points. in 79 games this season. “We go from a situation where it was fun to face each other to a reality where we absolutely have to win the match. I feel bad for my mother. She’s going to be the most stressed person on the planet when she sees us face off. »

The mother of the two attackers, Chantal, has always had difficulty seeing her two sons compete, much more than their father, former NHLer Keith Tkachuk. Chantal even made them promise not to fight before their first NHL duel in 2019.

This promise will always be kept, promises Brady.

 » It does not change anything. What changes is how hard we will play when we go against each other, but we will never go over the limit. »

And if the Senators miss the playoffs, don’t expect to see Brady in the stands cheering on Matthew, like he did last year when Calgary faced the Edmonton Oilers in the second round.

« It’s completely over, » Brady said. It was once. »

But Matthew and Brady intend to continue having dinner together the day before their matchups, schedule permitting, as well as continuing to cheer on each other when they are not facing each other.

“I am still his biggest supporter. He’s still mine, Matthew pointed out. We want each other to be successful individually, but in the end, I really want to beat his team and he really wants to beat mine. Matches mean a lot more now. »

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