Oilers' Zack Kassian on fighting Matthew Tkachuk: 'I'd do it all over again,' after suspension was handed down

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Oilers winger Zack Kassian spoke to reporters on Tuesday for the first time since his two-game suspension by the NHL's Department of Player Safety was announced. Kassian, who was also hit with a $21,000 fine, was punished for being the aggressor in a fight against Calgary's Matthew Tkachuk. When asked about the incident, the 28-year-old said that while he respects the league's decision, he wouldn't change anything about what happened.

"I'd do it all over again," Kassian said. "After speaking with [head of the Department of Player Safety George] Parros on the phone, he explained how the hit was not dirty. So that gave me some clarity on what you can do and can't do now, so I put that in the memory bank."

"The hit" in question was the first one that Tkachuk laid on Kassian on Saturday, which seemed to connect with the Edmonton player's neck/shoulder area. It's what eventually brought the ruckus from Kassian to Tkachuk that got the former suspended in the first place.

However, even with the explanation from the league office, Kassian was still none too pleased about the Tkachuk's hit.

"People don't do that to me or my teammates when I'm out there," he said. "To me, those are dangerous hits. If they're clean, they're still predatorial (sic), which is completely fine. I'm a big boy, I love big boy hockey. But if you're going to play big boy hockey, you've got to answer the bell every once in awhile."

The Oilers and Flames are scheduled for a two-game home-and-home on Jan. 29 and Feb. 1, just in time for Kassian to come back from his suspension.

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