Tucker's hit has coach fuming

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 6:47 AM ET

An incensed Lindy Ruff called for Darcy Tucker to be fined and suspended for taking out Jochen Hecht last night.

The Buffalo Sabres head coach barely contained his rage about a half hour after his club had registered a 3-2 win in a shootout over the Maple Leafs, using all of his post-game scrum with the media to go on a tirade against Tucker.

"Suspend him," Ruff said. "Get him out of the game. He went after his head. He took his knee out. I've seen enough of him, it's a joke.

"It's unfortunate we have to be done in on a cheap shot late in the game by Tucker. A knee-on-knee hit. He goes after (Hecht's) head, he dives afterward, he is known as a diver. He couldn't take the hit we gave him, so he knocks our guy out of the lineup for weeks. I want him suspended, I want him fined."

The incident in question occurred midway through the third period, with the Sabres ahead 2-1. Tucker was rocked along the boards in the Leafs end on a clean body check by the Sabres' Mike Grier.

Clearly agitated, Tucker appeared to go looking to make a hit in the neutral zone, and collided with Hecht.

Only the latter received a penalty on the play from referees Dennis LaRue and Craig Spada, as Hecht got his stick up when he saw Tucker coming and was assessed a minor for high-sticking.

One second after the penalty expired, Matt Stajan scored the tying goal.

Hecht suffered a left knee injury and is out indefinitely. It was Hecht's first game back in the Buffalo lineup after suffering an injury to his right knee against Toronto on March 16.

"I haven't called the league once, but I will call them 10 times (today)," Ruff said. "I'll come to the hearing. If you go knee-on-knee and take a shot at a guy's head at the same time, you don't deserve to be in the game. We're going into the playoffs and you are going to take out one of our best players because you couldn't take a hit? That's a joke, that's an absolute joke, is what it is."

Ruff made his comments after the Leafs were made available in their dressing room. Tucker had spoken to the media before Ruff and though he was apprised of Ruff's comments, did not re-appear.

A message left on Tucker's cell phone late last night was not returned.

The Leafs play the Sabres once more in the regular season, on April 16 in Buffalo.


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