Tucker setting nasty scene for rematch

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 11:25 AM ET

First he fired home a pair of goals, allowing him to snap an 16-game drought.

Then he fired a verbal salvo at the Buffalo Sabres' Daniel Briere, further fueling the heated rivalry between the NHL's two Golden Horseshoe teams.

Like him or not, you have to say this about the Maple Leafs' Darcy Tucker: He is never boring.

Just one day after being cleared by the league of any wrong-doing in his controversial collision Monday with the Sabres forward Jochen Hecht, Tucker's two goals helped his Maple Leafs down the visiting New York Islanders 3-2 at the Air Canada Centre last night.

In his post-game scrum with reporters, the main topic revolved around the fact that Tucker entered the game having not scored since Feb. 28 against Washington.

But when the subject of Briere's quotes came up, Tucker became animated.

For the record, Briere, miffed that Tucker was not suspended for his questionable hit on Hecht, pointed out on Tuesday that the Sabres were headed to the post-season while Tucker and the Leafs were headed to the golf course. He also said that "it's just sad that players like (Tucker) are still around this league."

Tucker was not amused when asked if he was hurt by Briere's comments.

"Hurt? By a guy like that? I mean how many playoff games has he ever played? Two?" Tucker said.

Told the number was actually six, Tucker shrugged.

"I don't think he can hurt me when I've played 80-plus playoff games and been to a conference final. Tell him to come back and talk to me when he has done that."

If there already wasn't enough hype revolving around the Leafs' visit to the HSBC Arena on April 16, there certainly is now.

Some radio personalities in Buffalo have been preaching all week for the need for the Sabres to "get Tucker."

Imagine what it will be like when last night's comments reach the Queen City.

As for finally getting back in the scoring parade, Tucker admitted having worse slumps in his career.

"Back when I was with the Canadiens, I went 30 or 40 games without a goal," said Tucker, who has now racked up a career-high 26 goals.

"This time around, I had plenty of chances but I missed a few open nets and hit the goalies in their gloves too. It was just nice to help the team win."


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