Michael Peca surged to the top of the club's penalty minute list last night, not by using his stick or arms, but for a sharp tongue.
His blow-up with referee Justin St. Pierre at 4:29 of a lost-cause game against the Panthers led to an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, a 10 minute misconduct and game misconduct. Peca was riled for two reasons; that captain Mats Sundin was going off for unsportsmanlike, his third minor and itself a rare occurence, and for a non-call on himself.
"I was frustrated because I got a two-hander across the arm on one shift and he's yelling at me 'no (penalty),' " Peca said. "The next shift, I'm trying to go to the net and he's got a stick through my legs. So I asked him (why) -- using some profanity, but not directed at him -- and he said if I swore at him, I'd get two minutes like Mats.
"I said swear swear, or swear at you? And he said 'just don't swear.' So I said 'That's bleeping bull-bleep, what are you, my father?' And I got two minutes. Then I nearly took a multi-game suspension, but Darcy Tucker was there to kind of grab me (and steer him to the bench)."
WOZNIEWSKI ON FAST TRACK
For most Maple Leafs players, it was just another mundane game day skate.
For healing defenceman Andy Wozniewski, however, it was a significant event.
Having undergone surgery on his right shoulder earlier this season, Wozniewski skated yesterday with his teammates for the first time since going under the knife.
While he isn't poised to return to the lineup any day now, Wozniewski is hoping he'll be back sometime in January.
"I'm way ahead of schedule," Wozniewski said. "At this rate I'm looking to be in game action in about a month."
Coach Paul Maurice wasn't about to put a timetable on Wozniewski's continuing rehab.
"He's a quick healer, I will say that," Maurice said.
Defencemen Bryan McCabe and Tomas Kaberle have the best showing thus far among Leaf players in balloting for the all-star game, which goes Jan. 24 in Dallas. McCabe is third among defencemen with 388,387 votes, about 25,000 ahead of Kaberle, who sits fifth.