Darcy good to go

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 2:43 PM ET


 Darcy Tucker's Wednesday from hell included:

 a) being cursed by 18,500 fans at the Corel Centre each time he touched the puck.

 Some seven-letter word that begins with "a".

 b) having his teeth brushed by a composite stick belonging to one of the Ottawa Senators.

 c) helplessly deflecting Todd White's third-period shot past Maple Leafs goalie Ed Belfour.

 d) wearing out a path between the bench and the dressing room in order to undergo repairs to his bruised body.

 After absorbing such a verbal and physical pounding during the Leafs' 4-1 loss to the Senators, questions arose concerning Tucker's availability for Game 5 of the Battle of Ontario at the Air Canada Centre tonight.

 However, the banged-up winger was able to participate in the team's late-morning practice yesterday.

 "I felt okay,"Tucker said. "Obviously it's not where you want to be, but you have to keep giving it your best and hopefully get to the point where I'll be able to skate every day.

 "Sometimes your timing is off a little bit. With not playing in six weeks, the first couple of games you're driven by adrenaline.Your timing aspect kicks in after that. If you are still banged up a bit you have to get our there and try to feel the puck a bit more so you can help the team in certain situations."

 Given the beating he has absorbed recently -- an abdominal injury caused him to miss the 14 games leading into the playoffs -- it was not surprising to see Tucker walking gingerly through the dressing room after the workout.

 Of course, he's not alone.

 Among the Leafs' walking wounded are Mats Sundin (left leg) and Joe Nieuwendyk (back), who are "questionable" to play tonight, coach Pat Quinn said.

 "We had some jump in practice," Tucker said. "Hopefully we get guys back and, if not, we'll use it as a rallying point.

 "As hockey players we get paid to do our jobs. Our job is to keep the puck out of the net. One or two guys don't make a team ... it's 20 working in unison."


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