Tucker keeping quiet about Islanders
It's something hockey fans haven't heard before from Darcy Tucker: silence.
All week the notoriously yappy forward has stayed mum when asked for his thoughts on the Toronto Maple Leafs game against the New York Islanders on Friday at Nassau Colisuem.
"I'm not going to talk about it, please pass it on," said Tucker when scrummed by reporters on Monday at the Leafs' practice facility.
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"It's last year," Tucker said. "It's over, and guys don't want to talk about it. It's not an issue for us."
The "it" Tucker is loathe to discuss is his inevitable, and highly-anticipated, confrontation with Islanders captain Michael Peca.
The meeting will the first between the two fiery competitors since Tucker landed a questionable hip-check during last season's heated playoff battle that left Peca with a ruptured knee.
In the new NHL such hits are verboten -- Peca was given a five minute penalty and a game misconduct for a similar hit on Zdeno Chara of the Ottawa Senators last week -- but at that time the league ruled Tucker's hit was clean and decided not to take action.
Peca disagreed. He claimed that the intent of Tucker's hit was to injure, and, in an offseason interview with Newsweek, insinuated he'd be looking for payback the next time he faced the Leafs.
Peca has mellowed since that time.
In an interview with Hockey Night in Canada's Scott Oake, Peca said his angry call for revenge was born from the pain, discomfort and frustration of trying to recover from reconstructive surgery.
"That was a time in rehab where I had reached a plateau. It wasn't a comfortable moment for me," said Peca.
"Looking back, I do regret saying those things."
"Once you get beyond the plateaus, you look back and it's all a distant memory -- the rehab, the surgery, the hit.
"Those feelings, those thoughts are all but forgotten."
Peca may have "forgotten," but have Islander fans?
During last season's playoff series, some rabid fans taunted, insulted, harassed and threatened Leafs players.
Earlier this year, the Islanders staged a Halloween costume contest during a home game. The winner was six-year-old boy who dressed up like a bloodied and bruised Tucker.
So the Maple Leafs aren't taking any chances. The team's hotel location will remain a secret and extra bodies have been hired to beef up security.
The Leafs may go as far as police escorts to and from the rink, and security for Tucker at all times during the trip.
Security on the ice, in case any of the Islanders want to take a shot at Tucker, will come from players like enforcer Tie Domi.
"(Tucker) is a big part of our team and nobody's going to be taking advantage of him," said Domi.
"We'll stick together as a team," he said. "We're going in to win the hockey game."
with files from Canadian Press