Knee sprain to sideline Hecht for two weeks

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Sabres forward Jochen Hecht will be lost for two weeks with a sprained MCL in his left knee. Hecht was hurt by a controversial hit from Toronto's Darcy Tucker in the third period of Buffalo's 3-2 shootout win over the Maple Leafs on Monday night.

Midway through the period, Sabres winger Mike Grier flattened Tucker with a hard check just inside the Toronto zone. Tucker then retaliated by going after Hecht near center ice, brushing Hecht's head with his elbow while both players' knees collided.

After the game, Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff lashed out at Tucker, saying he wanted the player suspended and fined. The league informed the Sabres on Tuesday no disciplinary action would be taken.

"That really bothers me," Ruff said following practice Tuesday. "I disagree with it. They agreed that his elbow grazed the head, and to me, that's a shot to the head. When you're going after somebody's head, you've got intent to hurt. Don't tell me the knee is accidental after that. He knew exactly what he was doing and should pay a price for it.

"Maybe Jochen needed to be carried off the ice, and then that's a suspension," Ruff said. "That's sad, but maybe that's what it is."

This will be the third time Hecht has missed time this season with a knee injury. He sprained the MCL to his right knee a couple games before the Olympic break, leaving him unable to play for his native Germany. He then re-injured the knee March 16 against the Maple Leafs.

The Sabres have won just two of 11 games they have played without Hecht, who has 18 goals and 42 points in 64 games.

"I want him suspended," Ruff said after the game Monday night. "I want him fined. I'll come to the hearing. I haven't called the league once; I'll call them 10 times tomorrow.
If you go knee on knee and take a shot at a guy's head at the same time, you don't deserve to be in the game. We're going to the playoffs and you're going to take out of our best players because you couldn't take a hit? That's a joke, that's an absolute joke."

The injury overshadowed Buffalo's clinching of a playoff spot for the first time since 2001. The Maple Leafs, meanwhile, are eight points out of the Eastern Conference's final playoff spot with eight games remaining.

"It makes us angry but there's nothing we can do about it," center Daniel Briere said. "The only positive is that Tucker is going to play golf and we're going to the playoffs."