Tucker eager, Wellwood not so much

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 10:15 AM ET

Darcy Tucker is glad the pre-season is done.

Kyle Wellwood, on the other hand, would have liked another game or two.

The top line of captain Mats Sundin between Wellwood and Alexei Ponikarovsky was intact again last night in the pre-season closer against the Detroit Red Wings and Wellwood acknowledged later he remains on a big learning curve in getting accustomed to playing the wing.

"I wouldn't say I am comfortable," Wellwood said.

"I definitely have a lot of stuff to learn. But there are 82 games to get better and you want to be at your best at the end of the year."

Also look for Michael Peca to skate between Chad Kilger and Alex Steen when the regular season opens. Another line would be John Pohl with Tucker and Alexander Suglobov. Steen had just one assist in seven pre-season games but Maurice was not concerned.

Tucker, meanwhile, is ready for the home-and-home set with the arch-rival Ottawa Senators on Wednesday and Thursday that kicks off the regular season.

"Pre-season is one of those things where you try to prepare each night and do what it takes to get ready for the regular season, but there is nothing like playing games that mean a whole bunch more," Tucker said.

"I am comfortable with our team. I think our work ethic is there, and our tempo is getting better every game. The adjustment is coming along. For the older guys who have played a lot of years under a different sort of mentality, we have to concentrate on doing the proper things and listening in practice."

Goalie Andrew Raycroft was much sharper last night than he was 24 hours earlier in Detroit, though he was beaten on a pair of shootout attempts by Jiri Hudler and Henrik Zetterberg. The latter completely faked Raycroft with a forehand deke and then slipped the puck into the open net with a backhand after Raycroft bought the move.

"My friends will see that 100 times (on the highlights)," said Raycroft, who made 26 saves. "All in all it was a good finale. I felt pretty good. It's nice to finish strong like that."


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