Warning to Rangers: Don’t Get In This Man’s Way, Or Else!

The Rangers must contain that of Matthew Tkachuk if they are to come up victorious in the Eastern Conference Final.


If there’s one Panther the Rangers should beware of, he wears number 19 and has an “A” on his jersey. Matthew Tkachuk.

In a hockey sense, the Blueshirts might consider him Public Enemy Number One when the Florida-New York playoff begins next Wednesday.

But he’s really a sweetheart. Off-ice, that is.

On the ice, it is suggested that you keep your distance; assuming such a feat is possible. Sometimes it is and sometimes it’s not.

“Matthew Tkachuk has an incredible array of unique skills,” Hockey News editor in chief Ryan Kennedy wrote in THN’s Yearbook. “But perhaps the greatest is his ability to elicit a reaction from every single thing he does on the ice.”

One of the things he does is hit people. And another is score goals, set them up and lead his less flamboyant teammates.

Or, as Erin Brown noted in that very same THN Yearbook:

“Aleksander Barkov may wear the ‘C’ in Florida, but the Panthers are Matthew Tkachuk’s team now.”

In terms of personality, there’s nobody on the Rangers quite like the native of Scottsdale, Arizona with the possible exception of Chris Kreider.

“Mat’s energy, his compete, his will to want to win and be successful, guys just followed him right from the start,” is how teammate Sam Bennett described Tkachuk to Ryan Kennedy.

What’s clear is that former NHLer Keith Tkachuk’s son is a large part of the reason why Florida finished first (52-24-6 110) in the Atlantic Division and has reached the third playoff round.

He leads the Panthers in playoff scoring (4-10-14) and was voted the seventh-best player in the National Hockey League by Kennedy in the THN Yearbook.

“Tkachuk’s combination of strength, smarts and swagger make him a fun one to watch,” Kennedy explained.

Right behind Matthew in eighth place was none other than the Rangers Adam Fox.

Indubitably, the playoffs are Tkachuk’s time of year. Last year he helped galvanize the Panthers to the Cup Final until a broken sternum sidelined him.

Despite the seriousness of the injury he managed to play into Game 4 of the Final; a feat that few would dare to attempt, but that’s Matthew.

Most of all Tkachuk is appreciated as a team player and will be the first to promote one of his buddies; in this case center Aleksander Barkov.

“He’s the best player in the world,” says Tkachuk. “I don’t have words for what he’s done for this team.”

How should Rangers fans view Tkachuk?

Just think of Chris Kreider. Matthew loves camping in front of the net and plays a smart game while simultaneously antagonizing the opposition.

One could say that Tkachuk has a big mouth but while Matthew talks the talk, he also puts his actions behind his adjectives.

Keep your eyes on him and you’ll see what I mean. I know that the Rangers will!

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