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Old 10-27-2006, 10:09 AM   #333
Bronx33
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Remember tucker beating the snot out eaves the other night well in the rematch last night Chris Neil got in tuckers grill and tucker backed down.

http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/Con...=1044442957278

Tucker decline's Neil's offer

Leaf: It wouldn't make sense to fight
No scraps despite pre-game growling
Oct. 27, 2006. 08:29 AM
PAUL HUNTER
SPORTS REPORTER

OTTAWA—It was a moment that was made for dramatic television and likely defused what could have turned the game between the Maple Leafs and Senators into an ugly fight-fest.

As the two teams got lined up for the opening faceoff, Ottawa super-pest Chris Neil stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Toronto winger Darcy Tucker.

Neil had been baiting Tucker through the media over the last 48 hours, getting on him because the Leaf dropped his gloves and took on Ottawa's Patrick Eaves, a player who hasn't fought since he was a teenager, in Tuesday's game at Toronto.

As they waited for the puck to drop, Neil leaned into Tucker, going almost nose-to-nose with his rival, incessantly yapping. It looked like a drill sergeant getting in the face of a young recruit.

Neil's essential message was, if you have a problem with the Senators, come to me — not a perceived lightweight like Eaves. "I asked him to fight and he didn't oblige me," Neil said later. "After that, I just went out and played hockey. I just let him know he can't be going after a guy like Patty Eaves."

Tucker said he tried not to listen to Neil, but it was tough because the Senator was right in his ear.

"It's his job. I've no problem with it at all. But I'm not going to get into fisticuffs with somebody who is going to clean my clock," Tucker said.

"I've been around long enough to know not to give them any momentum at the start of the game. It doesn't make sense for me to fight a 225-pound guy. I'm going to get walloped and everyone will get a good cheer out of it so it doesn't make sense to do that."

There were no fights at all in a game that was hyped in Ottawa as a potential war on ice. That, however, doesn't mean there wasn't animosity. And the Senators' fans cheered lustily whenever Tucker was at the wrong end of a check as he was involved in run-ins with both Chris Phillips and Anton Volchenkov in the first.

With Tucker trading punches with Eaves on Tuesday and teammate Chad Kilger spearing Ottawa's Christoph Schubert in the crotch, it's likely the trio of Tucker, Kilger and centre Mike Peca arrived in Ottawa as the most hated line in hockey.

At least in these parts.

"Oh, I don't know, I think anyone in blue and white is probably Public Enemy No. 1 around here," Kilger said before the game.

Kilger made all the male on-lookers wince with his pitchforking of Schubert. But he said his indelicate stick work was purely accidental, the result of responding to being tripped up by the defenceman.

"I retaliated but in no way did I intend to spear him," Kilger said. "I was trying to hit with my shoulder and my stick came up. I didn't even realize it was between his legs. It's unfortunate my stick hit him there."

Tucker was baffled by his portrayal here as an enemy of the people. "Everyone thinks I'm one of the toughest guys on the team. I find that quite amazing," he said.

"I'm a buck-seventy-five (175 pounds) soaking wet. (Eaves) is , what, about 200? I didn't think it was that big a deal at the time. I didn't throw a punch until he dropped his gloves."
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