Peca Wants Vengeance!
When Michael Peca returns to the New York Islanders lineup next season, a certain Toronto Maple Leafs forward will be in his crosshairs…
In an offseason interview with New York’s Newsday, the injured captain was still seething about about the hip check by Darcy Tucker during the playoffs in April. The hit caused a season-ending knee injury and painful rehabilitation.
“All I keep telling myself is if I can have him experience the first three weeks after ACL surgery that I felt – not that it has to be ACL surgery, but just the misery and the discomfort and everything – I’m certainly going to repay that,” Peca told the paper.
Peca suffered a tear of the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, which was reconstructed May 29, a week after a shoulder stabilization procedure from an unrelated injury. The knee injury was suffered on a controversial low-bridge hit by Tucker during Game 5 of the Islanders’ first-round series with the Maple Leafs.
“When something does happen and then you take into consideration the character of that person, you can’t help but think it was premeditated,” said Peca.
Peca maintains that Tucker threatened him in Games 3 and 4. After Peca laid a heavy open-ice hit on Tucker in one of the games, he skated past the Leafs’ bench during a line change and heard Tucker scream, “Don’t worry about it, Peca. I’m gonna take you out.” An off-ice official at the Coliseum also heard Tucker say to Peca during another altercation: “I’m gonna kill you! I’m taking you out!”
Islanders forward Steve Webb twice laid out Tucker during Game 6. Peca told Newsday that satisfied him, at least for now.
“I’m just glad to see somebody not back down from this guy,” he said. “He’s got a big bark and that’s about it. But I give him credit, though. He’s a guy that plays the game physical and plays tough. He does a lot of things well that helps make that team successful. At the same time, you’re not on his team, so you really hate him. I think even if you were on his team, you really wouldn’t like him anyway.
“Whatever I do, if anything, is going to be within the rules of the game,” he said. “I don’t feel I’m stepping over any boundaries or anything.”
The Islanders’ first game this coming season against Tucker and the Leafs is Dec. 6 Peca said he anticipates a return “before the new year” and an overly optimistic best-case scenario is by “mid-to-late November.”
I thought it could make a good debate…