Scrap with Tucker led to Avery's wrist woes

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:26 AM ET

ATLANTA -- Darcy Tucker does not want to discuss Averygate.

But it appears Tucker's fists have done the talking for him when it comes to the subject of Sean Avery, the yappy agitator of the New York Rangers.

Scheduled to undergo surgery last night, Avery told Rangers beat writers that his ailing left wrist was first injured in a punch-up with Tucker during a game at the Air Canada Centre on Nov. 10.

The bout happened after an incident during warmup when Avery began chirping at Tucker and Jason Blake, which ignited some colourful responses and some threatening gestures with sticks.

Avery was fined $2,500 US for his role in the pre-game scuffle while Tucker was hit up for $1,000. The NHL also fined the Rangers $25,000 and the Leafs $10,000.

Given the intensity of the two principle individuals involved, plenty of hype was expected leading up to next Thursday's Leafs-Rangers game at Madison Square Garden.

But with Avery out of the lineup for at least 10 days and likely longer, he will not be available for that encounter, the first meeting between the two teams since the initial incident took place.

Avery said the ailment was aggravated recently when he was hit in the wrist by the puck.

Tucker refused to engage in another war of words with the injured Ranger.

"I'm not going to talk about (Avery)," Tucker said as he left Philips Arena after the morning skate.

Prior to the news of Avery's wrist surgery, many were predicting that Leafs enforcer Wade Belak would suit up against the Rangers next week to send Avery a message.

Belak was outspoken at the time of the Nov. 10 incident, claiming someone might crack their stick over Avery's head one day if his shenanigans continued.

Now it appears the controversy will be less of an issue when the Leafs arrive in New York next week.

"I guess you could say there will be less of a circus and a distraction there,"Belak said yesterday. "Because (Avery) won't be playing, it will make for less interesting news for the media, especially since we have more media than players."


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