Leaning gingerly on his crutches, injured Maple Leafs defenceman Carlo Colaiacovo verbally wagged an accusing finger at the Philadelphia Flyers' Jim Dowd yesterday.
Relieved that his surgically repaired right knee sustained only a contusion during his collision with Dowd on Saturday, Colaiacovo implied that the Flyers forward might have intentionally taken him out.
"If you ask me, yeah," said Colaiacovo, who estimates he'll be out of the lineup for "seven to 10 days under the best-case scenario."
The hit occured near the Philly blue line in the first period and while it initially appeared to be accidental, the Leaf suggested otherwise.
"From the overhead, it looked like I saw him at the end. I thought he was going to go towards the boards, then, suddenly, it was knee on knee," he said.
Colaiacovo's allegation only adds to the bad blood toward the Flyers that is boiling in the Leafs camp. Behind closed doors, the club also is steamed at Flyers' Steve Downie for chucking an apparent sucker punch at Jason Blake, who was being restrained by officials during a third-period scrum in the Flyers 3-2 victory at the Air Canada Centre.
Blake's eye swelled up and kept him from practising yesterday. But he did accompany the team on its flight later in the day to the west coast, where the Leafs will meet the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday, the Los Angeles Kings the next night and San Jose Sharks on Saturday.
"Nothing is broken around the eye," coach Paul Maurice said. "He can't see out of it, but that's why God gave him two of them. We're looking for him to play Wednesday."
The NHL was investigating the incident yesterday to see if any further punishment needs to be levied against Downie, who was slapped with a 20-game suspension during the pre-season for leaving his feet to deck the Ottawa Senators' Dean McAmmond.
"I have not seen the incident yet," said Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren, who was returning from the world junior championship in the Czech Republic.
While his teammates headed west Colaiacovo stayed behind in Toronto to rehab his right knee, which underwent an operation back in late April.
"The good news is, it's nothing serious," Colaiacovo said. "Considering the trauma effect it could have had on the knee, it could have been worse. There were a lot of things going through my mind at the time, given what I've been through."
Colaiacovo has played just 78 NHL games since being a first-round pick in 2001, primarily because of a seemingly endless rash of injuries.
"People don't understand that I don't go out there intentionally trying to get hurt. I go out there to play hard and that's what I'm going to keep doing."