Joining a long line of players that honed their skills in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, former Toronto Maple Leaf Darcy Tucker has elected to hang up his skates in favor of retirement.
Known for his tenacious brand of hockey, intense competition level, and ability to get underneath the skin of opposing players, Tucker leaves the game after 14 seasons in which he accumulated a total of 215 goals, 261 assists, 476 points, and 1410 penalty minutes through 947 career games.
Originally drafted in the sixth round of the 1993 NHL Entry Draft by the Montreal Canadiens, Tucker is best known for his time spent in Toronto with the Maple Leafs. Tucker was a fan favorite who “earned” the nickname of Sideshow Bob for his dirty, sometimes questionable hits and brash nature, something Leafs fans everywhere admired in the 5’10” 170 pound ball of fire.
Wearing his heart on his sleeve, Tucker helped catapult the Leafs into perennial playoff contention through much of the 2000’s and also helped the franchise create an identity, which was badly needed at the time of his acquisition from the Tampa Bay Lightning midway through the 1999-2000 season.
Tucker’s best season with the Maple Leafs came in 2005-06 when he scored 28 goals and managed a total of 61 points (both career highs).
With 756 career penalty minutes with the Maple Leafs Tucker ranks 17th overall, just slightly behind Wade Belak (763) and just ahead of former captain Mats Sundin (748).
Tucker’s 148 goals ranks him 26th all-time with the Maple Leafs (tied with legendary defenseman Borje Salming), while his 171 assists ranks him 37th, with his overall point total of 319 puts him 31st overall (just five points behind Charlie Conacher and one point ahead of Paul Henderson).
Looking back at Tucker’s career, one can safely say that he gave it his all, night-in and night-out, and while he did not win a Stanley Cup during his 14-year career, he will be remembered as a champion by all who played alongside him.
Even though the likes of Michael Peca, who succumbed to an errant Tucker hit, may have something to say about Tucker’s character, few would argue that they would have loved to have had Tucker on their team.
Clearly Tucker will be missed; we wish him well and hope to see him land with the Maple Leafs organization in some capacity sooner rather than later.
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Until next time,