Tucker eager to lead

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 1:15 PM ET

Just three current Maple Leafs made their debuts with the club before Darcy Tucker, so it's no surprise the winger wants to be more of a leader.

Tucker trails only Mats Sundin, Nik Antropov and Tomas Kaberle in longevity with Toronto.

"I have to pretty much find a way to be a leader vocally and on the ice as well," Tucker said.

Tucker was tied with Sundin for the team lead with 15 points going into last night against the Buffalo Sabres.

"I remember Darcy from being a player back in Kamloops (in junior) who was hard to play against," Leafs coach Paul Maurice said. "He was quite a scorer and that's the player I have seen this year. He is still really hard to play against and he can drag your team into the battles some nights when you need him to. That is a nice asset."

Tucker is not overly fond of talking about himself but acknowledged his approach has evolved as the game has in the past couple of seasons after the lockout.

"I just think that if I get the opportunity to produce, I better do it," Tucker said. "You have to go out there and do what you are asked to do. You can't be just a one-dimensional player. I think I have adapted fairly well to the new rules."

Tucker likes to score as much as he likes to throw his 5-foot-10, 178-pound body around, but scoffed at the idea he is picking his spots better.

"I don't understand that," Tucker said. "When I play with a certain edge, that's when I play my best. If there is a hit to be had, I hit the guy. If there is not a hit, I don't hit."

Win or lose, Tucker has no problem taking questions.

"There are tough questions to be answered after (a loss) and easy questions when you win," Tucker said. "You have to make yourself accountable no matter what the situation is."

Yet another mark?

The Sabres are chasing another NHL record the Leafs have in the books. Not long after winning their first 10 games to tie a mark set by Toronto in 1993, the Sabres will go for their eighth consecutive road win from the start of a season tonight in New York against the Rangers.

The record is seven, set by the Leafs in 1940 and tied by Philadelphia in 1985 and Detroit last season.


Photos