Sibling success has Tkachuk extra motivated for upcoming Sens season
As a Cinderella run for his brother, Matthew, and the Florida Panthers reaches new heights with a Stanley Cup Final matchup against the Vegas Golden Knights, Ottawa Senators captain Brady Tkachuk joined TSN 1200 Ottawa to talk about what it has been like to watch the run up close.
The Senators captain admits this spring has him envisioning going on a similar run with Ottawa and the excitement it would bring.
"It's incredible to see all the support [for Matthew] and seeing that and being around that, that's something that I really want to provide to Ottawa, and it's been a couple of years since we've been in this situation,” Tkachuk said. "Everybody wants to see us in the playoffs, but it's the excitement that comes with that and making a run and believing in yourself."
While Brady's year ended on the last day of the regular season, Matthew's has been extended multiple times in dramatic fashion.
It started in the first round against the Presidents' Trophy-winning Boston Bruins, when Matthew's Game 7 winner sent the Bruins home and set up a second-round matchup against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
After defeating the Maple Leafs in five games, Matthew and the Panthers swept the Carolina Hurricanes, securing the franchise’s first trip to the final since the 1995-96 season.
It's not just Matthew's success that Brady has experienced the past few weeks. He's seen former Senators teammates Mark Stone, now with the Golden Knights, and current Florida Panthers Colin White and Anthony Duclair, capture conference titles.
"One of my groomsmen are going to be happy with the result – whether it's Matthew or Mark," Tkachuk said jokingly as the two are members of Brady's wedding party this summer. "I'm super proud of Matthew; super proud of everything he's done and the way he's stepped up and kind of taken his own game to that next level."
"I look up to him [Mathew] tremendously and he's somebody that I'm working to be. And [in] that moment, the team, the city relies on, he's the one stepping up. [He] just always has a knack for stepping up at the right time."
The Senators finished 11th in the Eastern Conference with 86 points and eight points back of the Panthers (92) for the final wild-card spot.
Tkachuk had a career year with the Sens as the 23-year-old Scottsdale, Ariz., native netted a career-high 35 goals and 48 assists for 83 points.
Having now taken the time to reflect on the 2022-23 season, there's one game post-trade deadline moment that sticks out to Brady as the Senators made a late push towards the playoffs.
"I remember that home game against Columbus, I think it was Chicky's [Jakob Chychrun] first home game. And you could just feel the excitement and the passion from everybody in the arena with them chanting 'We want playoffs,'" he said. "I remember listening to it and I was getting chills. I'm like, 'This is something I want to experience.'"
Having been drafted by the Senators with the fourth-overall pick in the 2018 NHL Draft, Brady was not a member of the 2016-17 Senators team that reached the Conference Final against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
But what he’s heard about that time motivates him to bring the playoffs back to the nation's capital.
"I've been hearing from the staff who've all experienced the 2017 run how electric not only the CTC [Canadian Tire Centre] was but the whole city,” he said. “That's something I want to experience, and it's created this extra level of motivation for me to not only get there but have that belief that anything can happen."