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Sariches deal with the scars

BRANT JAMES
Published May 23, 2004

TAMPA - Cory and Reagan Sarich should put off that family portrait for awhile. Wait until the Lightning defenseman doesn't look like an extra from Raging Bull anymore, maybe sometime this summer.

"Definitely, we'll have to wait a little bit," she said.

At least a couple months after a Flyer takes a last run at him. The steady defenseman has been a constant target of Philadelphia's forechecking this series. The theory: soften up the will and soften up the defense.

Jeremy Roenick sent Sarich hard into the boards in Game 5. In Game 3, Flyers center Keith Primeau did the same time after time, forcing Sarich to miss part of the second period, taking seven stitches before returning for the third. Donald Brashear launched him into the boards in Game 2.

Then there were the high sticks that have left myriad abrasions around his face for garnish.

Hockey players are used to the scrapes and bumps that come with the Stanley Cup playoffs - as are their wives.

Players even relish them as souvenirs if their team continues to advance, but Sarich has enough wounds for a whole locker room.

He has a purple raccoon bruise under each eye, four stitches knitting together the bridge of a nose whose middle can't decide it wants to go left or right.

"The worst-looking one is probably the one on the nose because of the added color," he said. "The color makes it look worse than it is."

That being said, Sarich wouldn't mind a couple rainy days in the next few weeks, as his swollen nose has made living in sunny Tampa a little tougher.

"I don't think my nose will ever return to actual form," Sarich said. " I can't even wear sunglasses anymore."

Reagan Sarich said she's used to the enlarged nose.

"His nose has been broken since I met him so I'm used to a big nose," she said. "I know it's going to take a little while for that one to come down."

Trainers apply some ice when a cut or bump is first sustained, but players generally don't worry too much about it. They only see it a couple of times a day, anyway.

"We've got no time for that stuff anyway," he said.

Wives, however, get to see those scars a lot. Reagan Sarich, Cory said, doesn't find those to be the worst part of the playoff makeover.

"She understands it's part of the job, you know," he said. "She knows if you're not getting marked up, you're not battling hard enough, so I don't think she minds those as much as she minds the beard."

The beard may actually have to stay on a little longer after the season for the all scabs underneath to heal.

What really irks her is when the boys get a little dirty.

"I don't like it when they hit from behind or get the hockey stick up," she said. "Or when he gets hit in the head. ... And I'm not too happy about him dropping the gloves."

So hubby can't fight?

"Oh, no, I think he's quite good, but that scares me," she said.

- On the Fly focuses on people, events and scenes around the game.

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