Duco wants to move on from Twitter talk

SPORTS NETWORK

, Last Updated: 12:58 PM ET

NEW YORK - Michael Duco has experienced a roller coaster of emotions over the past week.

First, he had his rights traded from the Florida Panthers to the Vancouver Canucks. Now he's the subject of controversy over comments he made on Twitter during the Stanley Cup Final regarding a trio of Canucks players.

"sick of watching the sedins dive and lay on the ice," Duco tweeted on June 6.

"HA...solid night Luongo," he wrote after Roberto Luongo's Game 6 debacle, in which he surrendered three goals on eight shots to the Boston Bruins before being pulled from the game.

Having had the chance to speak with Duco, a couple ideas are clear.

He recognizes the mistake he made and is extremely apologetic for it. Furthermore, he doesn't believe the comments accurately reflect him as a person or teammate.

"To the players, fans, and organization, I would like to apologize and I hope that you can forgive me," Duco told The Sports Network. "I had no reason to say anything bad about them."

Duco first apologized via Twitter after receiving backlash from a number of people and has now removed himself from the social media website altogether. He's been a punching bag for both fans and the media, with tasteless insults such as "AHL plug" being used to describe him.

"As a player, I should never publicly say anything negative about another player," the Toronto native said. "To say it on the ice is one thing, but online is something completely different, and I realize this now."

The 24-year-old hopes that his reputation in Vancouver can be repaired through his style of play. It's a style that made him a fan favorite with his former AHL club, the Rochester Americans.

"I just need to come into camp and show people what kind of work ethic and determination I bring to the table," Duco said. "I've always been a player that is a good guy in the room, willing to stand up for anybody on his team, and also somebody that will set the tempo with my crash-and-bang style.

"I hope after this is all said and done, that's the image the Vancouver Canucks players, organization and fans see."

If Duco continues to play the game the only way he knows how, he's likely to minimize the effects of the situation.

Not only does he have a knack for mucking it up, but he also knows how to find the back of the net.The gritty forward led Rochester with 20 goals last season and was third on the team with a 126 penalty minutes.

He's looking forward to a fresh start and wants to focus on playing for his new organization, which excites him.

"Every Canadian kid that plays hockey dreams about playing in the NHL," said the 5-foot-10, 194-pound Duco. "To be able to suit up for a Canadian team makes it that much better. The biggest positive of the trade is to get a fresh start somewhere else, especially a city like Vancouver where the fans are very passionate about the team."

Duco has played 12 career games in the NHL with the Florida Panthers, but won't be satisfied until he finds a permanent home in the league. He says he's been training "vigorously" with the hopes of ensuring that.

"My goals have always been the same and that will never change," said Duco, who had 60 PIMS during his brief stint with the Panthers. "I'd like to become a regular in the NHL and go from there."

If he needed any extra incentive to make his presence felt around his new teammates, he has one now.

For the fans, giving Duco a chance to redeem himself would be the right way to welcome him aboard, especially since his comments were made as a spectator, and not while he was a part of the organization.

And once he's given that second chance, fans will probably revel in the fact that they have a player who is willing to drop the gloves, and do it against the league's top heavyweights.

That's part of what makes the winger an exciting, and respected, player. And one who will protect his teammates if anyone decides to take a shot at them.

"I apologize to all three players involved, everyone knows that they're three world-class players," Duco said. "I feel like it's very important to move on from this. I'm looking forward to possibly being teammates with them. And in any situation, I want them to know that I'm the type of player that goes out and plays hard and I'll have their back no matter what if we're on the same team."

That's the type of player you're getting, Vancouver. Don't turn your back on him yet.


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