It's no secret that here at FanHouse, I never hesitate when it comes to posting fight videos. I'm not ashamed to admit I like hockey fights and admire the men who partake in them. The fact is, standing up for your teammates in a hockey fight takes the sort of guts and courage that few of us can understand.
But there's another side to violence in hockey, the one that's represented by folks we call agitators -- your Sean Avery types, the guys who stir things up. But one step beyond that, we have players that we can fairly call cheap shot artists, folks who have little respect for the game and even less for their opponents.
And the name that comes to mind when I think cheap shot artist is Colorado Avalanche winger Darcy Tucker. Most of the hockey world is familiar with Tucker thanks to the many years of his antics in Toronto with the Maple Leafs, with perhaps no moment more famous than the shot to the knees he delivered to Michael Peca in the 2002 Stanley Cup Playoffs -- a hit that may very well delivered a playoff series on a platter to Toronto.
As it turns out, Tucker is up to his old tricks again, this time against defenseman Nick Schultz of the Minnesota Wild. Michael Russo of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune has the details:
6:33 into the third, in a despicable act but one he's done often in his career, Tucker came in way late on Schultz, bent down and went right for the knees. He was called for clipping.
I got Schultz alone in the locker room, and he was still fuming. Here's his comments:
"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. It says everything you need to know about that guy.
"In the game right now, we're lacking respect for each other and to go and do something like that I think is not respecting one of the guys you're playing against.
"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."
The NHL should investigate this now and act now. It shouldn't wait for an injury to take place to discipline Tucker. The Wild and Avs play five more times, and regardless of whether or not Schultz got hurt, the replay is clear. Tucker, who's got a history of this type of play (ask Michael Peca), went for the knees.
Tucker isn't going to change, unless of course the league holds him accountable for his actions.
We'll keep our eyes open for the video. Thanks to our friend J.P. for the pointer.