Darcy Tucker is under fire today, and I don't just mean from the folks bashing him on the message boards. Despite a rare solid game for Tucker against the Wild last night - he had the lone goal as well as a couple of hits - the buzz this morning is on his low hit on Nick Schultz:
Six-and-a-half minutes into the third period of the Wild's 3-1 victory, Tucker was called for clipping after he went for a low-bridge hit aimed at Schultz's knees. An angry Schultz drew a roughing penalty in retaliation.
"My concern is at the end of the second, he tells me he's going to come and take out my knees, and then he actually does it," said Schultz, who got into a verbal exchange after a physical exchange late in the second. "It says everything you need to know about that guy."
"He's been that type of player his whole career, and you don't need that in the game. It's something we're trying to get away from -- hits to the head and taking out guys' knees. It's just a gutless play."
Adrian Dater adds the following embarrassing summation of the Avalanche's Dick Cheney policy:
When Schultz was saying this, Tucker was headed to the showers, so we never got any comment out of him. But we’ll be sure to tomorrow. Although, knowing the Avs, they find a way to make him somehow conveninently unavailable to the press.
Thankfully, I haven't seen a lot of those types a hits in the league. I remember seeing the play last night, but had to go back to my Tivo to watch it again. Tucker is definitely going in low on the play. There's no way to corroborate the accusation that Tucker told Schultz earlier that he was going to go for his knees. I just can't tell if that's an intentional attempt to injure or not. But, If it is, they need to throw the book at Tucker - there's no place for that kind of crap in this league. And they probably will.
Obviously, Tucker has a bit of a reputation for those kinds of hits. In fact, when I googled "clipping" for a definition of the penalty, I found the following wikipedia entry:
Clipping was instituted as a rule in the National Hockey League in 2002, following a low hit on 26 April by Toronto Maple Leafs forward Darcy Tucker on New York Islanders captain Michael Peca. The hit occurred during a Stanley Cup playoff matchup between the two teams, and Peca was unable to play for the remainder of the season. When the NHL added the new rule, the videotape distributed by the league showed the hit as an example of a clipping penalty that would result in an automatic game misconduct.
Here's a thought: if you are getting penalized for a penalty the league because of you, you might have a problem.