New York Islander captain Michael Peca will miss the rest of the playoffs and probably part of next season after tearing a ligament in his left knee on a hit by Toronto's Darcy Tucker.
Peca was injured in the second period of New York's 6-3 loss to the Maple Leafs on Friday night in Game 5 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series. The Leafs lead the best-of-seven series, 3-2.
Game 6 is today at Nassau Coliseum.
Peca, who is expected to be out at least six months, was hit a few seconds after he had passed the puck. Tucker closed in on him and bent at the knees to deliver the hit low to Peca's legs. Peca went end-over-end and fell on the ice. No penalty was called on Tucker.
The two players had been trading barbs through the media--and on the ice--for several games. According to Peca, Tucker had threatened during games to "kill" or hurt him. Peca called the talk "comical" before Game 5.
Islander General Manager Mike Milbury, said it's "not so comical anymore."
"You know, when a guy's carrying the puck and he releases it, you have a right, within a certain time frame, to hit him," Milbury said. "This was a bit late and clearly low. I think he knew exactly what he was trying to do. He told us he was going to do it."
In Toronto on Saturday, Tucker said he went low on the check to avoid any possibility Peca could throw a shoulder into him. As far as warning he would hit Peca, Tucker said he didn't know what Milbury was talking about.
"I was just finishing my check," Tucker said. "I don't know what the big hoopla is about."