I watched a Los Angeles Kings vs. Calgary Flames game this week. Not by mistake. Not because I fell asleep with Center Ice streaming. I watched it because of pure, uncut, mutual animosity.
The rivalry between Kings defenseman Drew Doughty and Flames forward Matthew Tkachuk managed to surpass the trash-talk-laden hype leading up to the game. It's a feud that has spanned a few seasons. Doughty, who once said he has no respect for Tkachuk, recently said, "I think we both know who the better player is, so if he wants to compliment me first, I'll give him one back."
Tkachuk had two goals and an assist, including the tying goal late in the third period. Doughty had two assists and the winning goal in the 3-on-3 overtime.
"When you buy a ticket, you're going to watch those two closely," Kings coach Todd McLellan said. "Nobody went home disappointed with Doughty or Tkachuk's performances tonight."
Well, maybe Flames fans did, depending on their tolerance for theatrics. After Doughty scored in overtime, he skated over to the glass, arms outstretched in an "Are you not entertained?" manner, followed by a discernible (but NHL-endorsed, given the league's reaction) pro wrestling crotch chop. Doughty further got his WWE on by cupping his glove to his ear to capture every jeer being showered upon him from the crowd.