Keith Tkachuk, the five-time NHL All-Star who is the father of Florida Panthers All-Star forward Matthew, had some choice words for his son’s team on a Toronto radio station Wednesday morning.
Speaking on Toronto 1050, Keith Tkachuk said his son is “devastated” with the team’s current spot as the Panthers go into tonight’s game against the Maple Leafs riding a four-game losing streak.
The position the Panthers are in, Keith Tkachuk said, are of their own doing.
Keith Tkachuk was in attendance Monday night when the Panthers lost 5-2 to the Ottawa Senators — who are captained by Brady Tkachuk — and he did not sound all that impressed with Matthew’s team.
To say the least.
“This is do-or-die for the Panthers right now,’’ Keith told First Up with Korolnek & Colaiacovo. “I watched them the other night and I know I am staying at Brady’s house and Brady’s team played really well. They have some jam and, you know, I am a little disappointed with the Panthers.
“They are a soft team and they are getting everything they deserve right now.”
To continue on that point, Keith Tkachuk said for the Panthers to snap their losing streak in Toronto, they need to bring a little more toughness to their game.
“Instead of trying to get autographs on the ice from Matthews and Marner,” he said, “they probably should check them a little harder. Whatever it is, it is disappointing. I know I sound like a frustrated person, but I know every time I come and watch Ottawa, they may not be the most talented team but they’re going to play hard.
”Perhaps Florida could take a page out of their book.”
As far as his son Matthew goes, Keith Tkachuk said he enjoys playing for the Panthers and living in Fort Lauderdale — but he is not thrilled with how this season has gone.
Florida goes into tonight’s game three points back of Pittsburgh for the final wild card spot with eight games to play.
”He loved Calgary and loved the group of players up there but he did not see himself staying there a long time,” Keith Tkachuk said. “It is difficult to make a transition. But he has done fine.
“The ultimate goal is to win and he feels like it’s tough right now in what they have been going through. They have guys like Barkov and one of the things he liked about the whole thing was being able to play with Sam Bennett who the Panthers may not realize how much they miss a player like that with the jam he has and the character he has.
“It has been a good transition for Matthew living-wise and he enjoys it down there. But, you know, he is pretty devastated right now with where they are at. But they are still hanging on and still have a chance. It is up to them to get their butts going and start playing like the team that should be a lot better than what they are showing right now.”
PANTHERS ON DECK
FLORIDA PANTHERS AT TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS
- When: Wednesday, 7:30 p.m.
- Where: Scotiabank Arena, Toronto
- TV/Streaming: Bally Sports Florida; ESPN+
- Radio: WPOW 96.5-FM2; WBZT 1230-AM (Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); SiriusXM
- Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932
- Season Series (Toronto leads 2-0): Maple Leafs 5, Panthers 4 OT (Jan. 17); Maple Leafs 6, Panthers 2 (Mar. 23)
- Last season: Florida won 2-1
- All-time regular season series: Toronto leads 47-35-7, 7 ties
- Up Next for the Panthers: Thursday at Montreal Canadiens, 7 p.m.