Darcy Tucker can't wait to give his foot cast the boot.
Having played just one game since suffering hairline fractures in his left foot back on Dec. 26, the feisty winger could get his wish today.
"I expect it will come off ," Tucker confirmed last night. "The testing has been done and it's been healing well."
Don't pencil his name into the lineup quite yet, however.
Cast or no cast, Tucker realizes there is significant rehabbing to be done before he is ready to step onto the ice once again. His foot has been sapped of a lot of strength in the six weeks that he has been inactive and needs to be built it up again.
"There is a lot of work to be done on the leg and the ankle," he said. "I lost a lot of muscle in there.
"Sure there is a glimmer at the end of the tunnel, but we have to let this thing heal until it is at 100% again. The last thing I want is to step back in there and suffer a setback which would keep me out even longer."
In the meantime, Tucker has been impressed by the team's run since the all-star break, one which has seen the Leafs go 5-1.
"It's been fun to watch," he said. "I feel good for the guys.
"Every game has been do or die and will be from now on. It's fun to play in that type of atmosphere, I can tell you that."
As for any contract talks between his agent, Carlos Sosa, and Leafs general manager John Ferguson Jr., Tucker said his goal is still the same -- to remain in blue and white.
"I can't control any of that," he said. "Our position remains the same. Whether it happens, we'll have to see.
"I can't control the trade (rumours), either. People can talk all they want. All I can do is try to get back to the lineup."