The terms "stretcher" and "Darcy Tucker" probably aren't mutually exclusive in the minds of most hockey fans; only this time it was the Colorado Avalanche winger who was the victim of a cheap shot that left him immobile on the ice in a scary incident Friday night.
At 5:26 of the second period in Colorado, Carolina Hurricanes forward Tuomo Ruutu(notes) delivered a check with Tucker's numbers facing him and Tucker's face in front of the glass, having already released the puck. The result? Tucker's body flopped to the ice, the crowd gasped in unison and the drama began:
As Tucker was removed from the ice on a backboard by medical personnel, Ruutu received a five-minute major for boarding and a game misconduct. Milan Hejduk(notes) scored on the ensuing power play to break a 2-2 tie, and Wojtek Wolski(notes) scored 14 seconds after the man advantage ended to help power the Avalanche to an emotional 5-4 victory, their seventh in 10 games.
Adrian Dater of the Denver Post reported that Tucker was "knocked out cold on the hit. But he regained consciousness and is now fully alert." NHL Network reported after the game that Tucker went to a local hospital where X-Rays were negative but a concussion was diagnosed.
"Ruutu's got a history," said Foote, the Avs' captain. "He hits late, he hits from behind. So I felt like it was probably dirty if your guy is laying there."
Ruutu's getting a suspension here, no doubt. It was a scary scene that resulted from a completely irresponsible play, and even his coach is hinting at further punishmen. Now it's just a matter of duration: Both Ruutu's time away from the rink and the amount of time Tucker needs to get back on it.