SUN Hockey Pool

Kotalik shows he can mix it up

STEVE MACFARLANE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:42 PM ET

OTTAWA — You can bet on Ales Kotalik taking the extra step of tying down his jersey before Tuesday night’s game against the Senators.

What you wouldn’t normally wager on is the 31-year-old product of the Czech Republic dropping the gloves.

But that’s what happened in Saturday’s game against the Lightning in Tampa, and the fact he wasn’t tied down and his jersey came off during the scrap with Stephane Veilleux cost him a game misconduct.

“It’s unfortunate that I didn’t have the jersey tied and got kicked out of the game,” Kotalik said Monday. “I didn’t even know the rule was like that, that you could get a game misconduct.

“I’ve got to make sure next time I’m tied up on the jersey.”

He promises he will strap in Tuesday — “Yeah, definitely.” — but isn’t about to go looking for fights.

The 6-foot-1, 225-lb. Flames winger responded without hesitation to Veilleux’s challenge after he flattened Bolts captain Vincent Lecavalier with a clean check in the opening period.

“It was just one of those situations. You happen to hit their star player and they go after you,” Kotalik said. “You’ve got to stand up for yourself.

“I’m not looking for fights. But a situation like that presents (itself) you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.”

Kotalik’s physical presence has won over a few fans in Calgary who didn’t know what to expect when he was brought over with Christopher Higgins in the deal that sent Olli Jokinen and Brandon Prust to the New York Rangers.

It wasn’t a classic by any stretch of the imagination, but Kotalik gets points for effort after trying in vain to get his right arm free from his jersey to throw some punches, then taking an accidental elbow from Veilleux as the Lightning winger tried to take his visored helmet off.

It was just Kotalik’s second bout of his career — the first in 2003-04 against then-Montreal Canadiens defenceman Francis Bouillon.

“I don’t want to talk about it anymore,” said Kotalik, who is eager to prove he can contribute offensively Tuesday.

“It’s in the past. I want to look forward.”

steve.macfarlane@sunmedia.ca


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