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Dennis Leary Loves Old-Time Hockey


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From NY Post's Page Six

October 17, 2005 -- DENIS Leary is among the hordes of hockey fanatics who are thrilled that the NHL is back after last season was put on ice because of the players' strike — but he isn't eager to spill his own blood on the rink anytime soon.

The rough-and-tumble "Rescue Me" star has suffered plenty of pain while playing his favorite sport. "Once, I got high-sticked in the mouth and all my top front teeth were cracked in the middle and I had to get them bonded," Leary says.

"I have broken both my ankles and several toes. I broke my shoulder from a check and had to have an operation. My nose has been broken four times, and I have a sideways bump on both the left and right side, although it is not visible in my profile. I have had over 200 stitches to my face."

One of the most memorable beatdowns he suffered was at the meaty hands of former Philadelphia Flyer enforcer Rick Tocchet.

"I was playing in an exhibition charity game against Rick Tocchet, who was a top fighter for the Philadelphia Flyers," Leary continued. "Tocchet was getting out of hand with late hits and high elbows, so I challenged him, and he just attacked me instantaneously. I thought I would have a chance to get a punch in — we are the same size — but he overpowered me right off.

"I just hung on, trying to cover up. Tocchet landed 15 punches in a row to my face. I was really bleeding, but I am proud I did not go down. After the game, we were still friends."

Leary says that, with all of his broken bones, he's been taking an anti-inflammation drug to stave off possible arthritis.

Still, he told Webster Hall curator Baird Jones: "I don't think they should change the basic rules of hockey to eliminate fighting or the hard hits. In fact, for all the injuries I have sustained, I still think hockey violence is blown out of proportion. I love the game."

As a matter of fact, Leary would like to see some violence on the golf green, too. He tells Golf magazine that the pro game is too "sedate" and thinks it would be better "if Tiger Woods just hauled off and belted Phil Mickelson in the face and then they pulled each other's shirts up over their heads and went at it. Very exciting!"

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