News: Tampa Tribune 1/23/98
Tucker Strikes Chord
By Ira Kaufman
New Lightning center Darcy Tucker already is having a galvanizing effect
on linemate Alexander Selivanov.
Lightning right wing Alexander Selivanov has survived the purge of '98.
Now he has to survive the urge of No. 16.
It took new Tampa Bay center Darcy Tucker just three days to crawl inside
Selivanov's hockey helmet and whisper sweet everythings in his ear. Inspired
by Tucker's fervent approach, Selivanov responded with a goal and an
assist in Wednesday night's 3-2 overtime loss to Washington.
Selivanov's first two-point game since Nov. 19 and a solid effort by
left wing Jason Wiemer has Coach Jacques Demers enthusiastic about Tucker's
line heading into tonight's game in Buffalo, the opener of a three-game
Tucker took 18 shifts against the Capitals, setting up Selivanov's second
period goal and winning nine of 15 faceoffs. He was the only Tampa Bay
player to finish plus-2, but his biggest contributions may be off the
ice, where he has established an easy rapport with Selivanov.
"The key is to keep Sally playing at a high level," said Tucker, who
came from Montreal in last Friday's six-player deal. "I'm intense and I
try to keep everyone around me intense. Sally has taken a lot of knocks,
but we'll get through this thing together."
Selivanov is trying to recapture is 31-goal form from two years ago. After
scoring the biggest goal in franchise history to beat the Flyers in OT
during Game 3 of the 1996 playoffs, he has struggled with self-confidence.
With Tucker, there was instant respect from both sides.
"He's a good guy, very intense but also very funny," said Selivanov.
"For the first time out, I think our line did very well together."
Tucker, 22, was a big scorer in the Western Hockey League, but his size
(5-foot-10, 180 pounds) works against him in the NHL. Still, his combative
nature can be effective in antagonizing opponents and motivating teammates.
"We are serious," said Selivanov, "but we always manage to have fun. That's
a good combination."
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