OTTAWA -- If the Ottawa Senators decided to act on the collective rage of the local townsfolk here toward Darcy Tucker, the feisty Maple Leafs forward would be rotating on a spit on Parliament Hill tonight.
Referring to the Toronto agitator as "Mother Tucker," the locals are incensed at Tucker's alleged gooning of Sens forward Patrick Eaves, a guy who claims he had not been in a hockey fight "since about 16 or 17."
The incident, which occurred during the second period of the Senators' 6-2 thrashing of the Leafs on Tuesday, featured Tucker grabbing Eaves and dropping the gloves, leaving the Ottawa forward with little choice but to also shed his mitts.
With Eaves being little more than a punching bag on blades, former Argonaut Glenn Kulka, a respected talk jock on The Team 1200 all-sports radio station, yesterday echoed the sentiments of Sens general manager John Muckler by referring to Tucker's actions as "cowardly."
WIN ON SCOREBOARD
But if anyone anticipates a full-scale brouhaha with Tucker as the primary target when the two teams meet in the final leg of this home-and-home series tonight at Scotiabank Place, the Sens are stressing that they want to beat up the Leafs on the scoreboard more than they do with their fists.
Of course, if things get out of hand, then ...
"If it comes to a situation where we have to have it looked after, I think we have that ability," Senators coach Bryan Murray said.
More often than not, a grudge match like that tonight never lives up to the hype. In case it does, though, look to Sens pugilists Chris Neil and Brian McGrattan -- called "idiots" by Leafs enforcer Wade Belak yesterday -- to look after their own.
"You definitely don't like to see stuff like that happen," Neil said. "Patrick Eaves never fought a day in his life. He's a happy-go-lucky guy and I think Tucker did his homework between periods because he knows he doesn't fight."
Neil feel Tucker will continue trying to suck the Sens into penalties "because he gets all his goals on the power play."
"That's not part of my game, going after a guy who has never fought before," said McGrattan, who exchanged punches with Belak earlier in the contest. "It's something I would never do. There's plenty of guys that do that. Tucker's not the only one."
Eaves was embarrassed by all the media focus yesterday.
"I'd rather get attention for (the goal I scored)," he said. "I'm not much of a fighter. It's time to move on."
The Eaves incident aside, the Sens were more upset by an apparent spear by Chad Kilger near the family jewels of the Sens' Christoph Schubert. No suspension or fine was issued.
"I didn't trip (Kilger) on purpose," Schubert said.
"I was falling down and the next thing I see I just got a stick on my two lovely friends. I don't know, it's funny for me now.
"(The referee) told me to get up. I asked why he was yelling at me. I said: 'I'd like to see you if you got a stick in your two friends.' He said, 'Did he really hit you?' I said, 'Do you think I'm acting here?' He apologized. We were laughing about it."
Who says the Battle of Ontario has no spice any more?