Sutton slapped

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:26 AM ET

MONTREAL -- In a perfect world, Atlanta Thrashers coach Bob Hartley would be held responsible for his players' actions on Friday night, Darcy Tucker figures.

But Tucker was glad the NHL came down quickly on Thrashers defenceman Andy Sutton, who rammed Tucker's head into the end glass during the game, cutting Tucker for 20 stitches above his left eye.

"I think there were a couple of their guys that were sent (out) to do something for sure," Tucker said two hours before last night's match against the Montreal Canadiens. "They went after Eric (Lindros) and we weren't happy about it. I think they were pretty adamant about doing something or taking care of business. It shouldn't have got to that point."

The 6-foot-6, 245-pound Sutton was suspended four games by the NHL for his hit on the 5-foot-10, 178-pound Tucker. The incident occurred midway through the third period with the Leafs up 6-1 over the Thrashers. Toronto won 9-1.

"I think (Hartley)should be accountable, but that's not for me to say," Tucker said. "It's tough to prove (Hartley sent his players out) and I'm sure their players aren't going to say anything. They're looking after their own livelihood."

Sutton received a match penalty and the suspension will cost him $38,775.52 US in pay. Did Tucker think four games was enough?

"I'm indifferent," Tucker said. "(The decision)was swift and they didn't let it linger, which was nice. I'm glad it's over."

A disappointed Sutton had a conference call with the NHL yesterday morning.

"In no way, shape or form did I mean to injure Darcy," Sutton told The Associated Press. "I finished my check the way I have hundreds of times before. He just happened to hit his head in a bad way."

During the third period, the Thrashers' Eric Boulton received an elbowing minor for a hit on Lindros. Tie Domi came to Lindros' aid, going after Boulton.

"Domi came in and started the entire thing," Hartley said yesterday. "Boulton's hit on Lindros ... was far from being a cheap shot."

NHL executive Mike Murphy said the league was satisfied with the calls by referees Dan O'Halloran and Dan O'Rourke. There was speculation Domi was going to be called on the carpet for physical contact with O'Rourke.

"We can't get into the he-said, she-said," Murphy said of the war of words between the teams. "We don't deal in that. That's hearsay. The facts are on the tape."

One young Leaf said the shenanigans drew the team closer together.

"It was inspirational for us young guys to watch," Alexander Steen said. "One of the biggest strengths on this team is the dressing room. Ithink everybody stood up for each other. It was good for the team."


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