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Treliving says he firmly supports his player and disagrees with one-game suspension

by GEORGE JOHNSON @GJohnsonFlames /

Driving on Saturday afternoon from Toronto and a meeting of NHL general managers to Buffalo, N.Y., where he's skedded to start some scouting, Brad Treliving kept anxious tabs on his hockey team.

The GM was certainly ecstatic with the end result, a Sean Monahan-inspired, drama-soaked 5-4 Flames' comeback OT victory at the Wells Fargo Center against the Philadelphia Flyers.

What irked him, and continues to, was Matthew Tkachuk not being allowed to play any part.

"No. 1, as we always say: We respect the process with the league,'' said Treliving, reacting to the one-game suspension slapped on Tkachuk by the NHL on Friday. "Listen, I know it's a hard job. I did it when I was in the minors. I have a great deal of respect for George (Parros, head of Department of Player Safety) and the league.

"You'll never hear us gripe about that.

"But we do disagree with the decision.

"I don't think there's anything there that constitutes Matthew receiving a spearing major, a game misconduct AND then having to sit out a game.

"So full respect for the people and the process but I back our player 100 percent in this."

The suspension came as a result of the shenanigans that boiled over at 14:04 of the third period of Wednesday's game at Little Caesars Arena, after Detroit's Luke Witkowski shucked the mitts and fought with Brett Kulak of the Flames.

The fisticuffs escalated into a fracus at the benches with multiple players from both teams and when Witkowski, escorted off the ice by the linesmen, was given a tap on the ankle/foot by the stick of Tkachuk, he returned to the fray.

Witkowski received a 10-game suspension for his part in the incident.

"What's happened,'' said a clearly frustrated Treliving, "is a guy experienced in fighting (Witkowski) fights a guy (Kulak) who's not.

"Our team didn't like that. I don't think any team in the league would like that … (Travis) Hamonic says something to him. He says something to Hamonic.

"They remove him from the game. Our bench is going to say something, temperatures are up, we're down hard and not in a good mood to begin with. Matthew taps him to go away.

"The player leaves the ice, then comes back on the ice. Did (Tkachuk) need to do what he did? Probably not. But at the end of the day, of all the stuff that took place, I don't think Matthew tapping him on the foot is the most egregious.

"So it's over. We've moved beyond it. George is a good man, he's going to do a fantastic job.

"But - I repeat - I support my player."

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