Tucker backs Peca

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:10 AM ET

Their feud long ago patched up, Darcy Tucker has a new plan for himself and former foe Michael Peca.

"Now we can go into Long Island and get booed together," Tucker said with a laugh yesterday. "I'm excited for the team in general that we're getting someone who has that much experience. It's awesome."

During a first-round series against the New York Islanders in 2002, Tucker ended Peca's season with a hit that left Peca with a serious knee injury. That summer, Peca hinted at retribution. But the two have since met at players' meetings and Tucker, who is looking forward to getting together with Peca for a game of golf, coincidentally became friends with a cousin of Peca.

"We haven't kissed (and made up)," Peca said, smiling. "But there are no issues there."

Not only does Peca add leadership to the Maple Leafs, in all likelihood he is the last piece of general manager John Ferguson's puzzle for 2006-07. Unless there is a trade -- Ferguson has about $42.8 million US committed with a $44-million salary cap -- all that is left is the signing of Matt Stajan and the hiring of assistant coaches, one of which will be Keith Acton and potentially another in Randy Ladouceur. Some say Ferguson did not bring in what was needed -- a scoring winger for Mats Sundin -- but the GM is not concerned. With the departures of Eric Lindros and Jason Allison, the team loses 28 goals and 54 assists; Peca, defencemen Pavel Kubina and Hal Gill combined for 15 goals and 56 assists.

"Our even-strength play was an area that needed to be upgraded and we have done that," Ferguson said. "The net effect is we are going to give up fewer goals."


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