Tucker lashes out

MIKE ZEISBERGER

, Last Updated: 12:43 PM ET

Anyone who feels Darcy Tucker is coasting after signing a lucrative contract extension a year ago is "way off base," the feisty winger said yesterday.

Tucker's pair of goals in a 4-2 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday gave him eight for the season, far shy of both his expectations and those of management.

The slump has caused some fans to suggest Tucker's lack of offence coincides with the four-year, $12 million US deal he inked with the Leafs in the second half of the 2006-07 season.

"I haven't read or seen that, but anyone who says that doesn't know me," an emotional Tucker said yesterday.

"Anyone that knows me, knows that I came from nothing. I'm grateful for everything. I've pretty much given my career for this organization."

Tucker has battled a variety of ailments including shoulder and knee injuries this season. He refuses, though, to disclose if he has been playing hurt.

"I wouldn't say that," he said. "The (foot fracture) of last year was impossible to play with.

"I guess I'm stubborn in that I feel I can help the hockey club despite some opinions to the contrary out there."

As for his no-trade clause, he reiterated for the umpteenth time that he wishes to remain a Maple Leaf.

RECRUITING MATS?

Swedish stud Nick Lidstrom was asked if he had spoken to Mats Sundin in an attempt to sell him on the virtues of hockey life in Detroit. Sundin, who insists, like Tucker, he wants to remain a Leaf, was a teammate of Lidstrom's on the gold medal winning Swedish Olympic team at the 2006 games in Turin, Italy. "Who knows if Mats wants to move?" Lidstrom said. "It sounds like he doesn't. But it does bring back memories of the Olympics. He set me up for the winning goal." Lidstrom admitted talking to Swedish free agent Fabian Brunnstrom about Detroit. The Wings and Leafs are believed to be on his short list.

LOOSE LEAFS

Forward Ben Ondrus was reassigned to the Marlies yesterday in order to make room for Nik Antropov, who returns to action after serving his three-game suspension ... Dominik Hasek is expected to start in goal for the Red Wings this afternoon.


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