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Leafs lose Tucker for balance of playoffs

May 11, 2002 at 11:07 PM   |   Comments

TORONTO, Ontario, May 11 (UPI) -- The Toronto Maple Leafs, who could ill afford to have another body on the sidelines, confirmed Saturday that veteran forward Darcy Tucker will not play again this postseason because of a dislocated left shoulder and broken bone in the same shoulder.

Tucker was injured in the closing minutes of the Maple Leafs' 4-2 loss to the Ottawa Senators Friday night in Game Five of the NHL Eastern Conference semifinal series between the two teams. The Senators lead the best-of-seven tilt, three games to two, and can close out the Leafs with a win in Ottawa on Sunday.

On the play in which Tucker was hurt, Ottawa was applying pressure in the Toronto zone when Daniel Alfredsson checked him from behind, sending him shoulder-first into the right wing boards.

With Tucker lying on the ice in pain, Alfredsson went down to the other end and fired the puck past Toronto goaltender Curtis Joseph into the upper part of the net for a 3-2 lead.

Most of the Maple Leafs thought it was a bad hit and have vowed revenge. Tucker, wearing a sling, himself told reporters on Saturday that he did not think Alfredsson was trying to hurt him, but that a penalty should have been called on the play.

"I don't think he intended to hurt me. Not at all," said Tucker. "He was trying to finish his check and be physical. How did they (the referees) know when I was lying down that I didn't have a broken neck? For a penalty not to be called was ridiculous."

"There is a game to be played and both teams know how important the game is," Alfredsson said, who does not expect retaliation. "They can't afford to take any dumb penalties."

Tucker said he hadn't spoken to NHL Vice-President and Director of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell, who oversees player discipline.

"Why would I talk to Collie Campbell? He's too smug to talk to anybody," Tucker said. "Why would he talk to me? I should have the same rights as a guy like Steve Yzerman or Jaromir Jagr. I could have probably been two or three inches away, if my head goes straight into the boards, of breaking my neck. What is it then? A 20-games, a 30-game suspension? But (in his case) nothing, not even a review. Because I only break my shoulder? And they're not even going to take the time to look at it."

On the sidelines, Tucker joins Leafs captain Mats Sundin (broken wrist), forward Mikael Renberg (lower body injury) and defensemen Jyrki Lumme (upper body injury), Karel Pilar (thumb) and Dmitry Yushkevich (blood clot in leg).

© 2002 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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