Tough-luck Tucks

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:18 AM ET

TAMPA -- A swelled foot, a gashed eyebrow and about 20 churning guts.

These aren't the types of souvenirs the Maple Leafs were looking to pick up in the Sunshine State, which has proven to be anything but a Magic Kingdom for Darcy Tucker and his teammates.

Tucker and his teammates bobbed and weaved their way across the state from Fort Lauderdale to Tampa yesterday morning on a turbulent flight.

While the team arrived at the St. Pete's Times Forum virtually unscathed -- even timid flyer Jeff O'Neill managed to survive the ordeal -- Tucker's woes run deeper.

Tucker missed practice yesterday because he was unable to fit his ballooning foot into his skate boot. He'll try again this morning in the hopes that he'll be able to suit up tonight when the Leafs visit Tucker's former team, the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The Leafs breathed a sigh of relief after X-rays of the foot were negative, leaving Tucker day to day -- that's the company line, anyway.

Tucker limped off the ice in the early stages of the second period against the Florida Panthers Monday night after being nailed by a shot from Jay Bouwmeester. After hobbling his way up and down the corridor by the Leafs dressing room, he returned to action and scored the opening goal in Toronto's 2-1 victory over the Panthers.

"It didn't feel too bad after I walked it off, so I came back and played," Tucker said. "Right now it's a precautionary thing. I missed a couple of games with my son, Cain, being born on Saturday, so if I can play I'll play."

Wade Belak, meanwhile, was nailed above the left eye with the puck on a Kyle Wellwood dump-in attempt just moments after the start of a shinny-like scrimmage in which all players were on the ice at the same time.

Belak crumpled to the ice, but seemed to be in good spirits afterward.

"It's going to need a couple of stitches," he said "It should be all right though. I'll keep the eyebrow.

"It's brutal. Now I'm getting hurt in practice -- the first three seconds of the screw-around scrimmage. It's a good thing it was Wellwood shooting. If it was (Bryan) McCabe I'd still be lying there."

Wellwood was quick to claim his innocence.

"It was just a freak accident," he said. "(Belak) did go down, though. He was down for a good five seconds."

Will a visor now be in the works for Belak, who had his nose busted by a punch from the Boston Bruins' Colton Orr earlier this season?

"No, I won't be wearing one," he said.


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