He was also fighting his battles in a debilitated state, a circumstance that Tucker couldn't bear. Often Tucker charged after an opponent who had roughed up Corson. In Toronto this was a sin: Family loyalty comes second to loyalty to the Maple Leafs. The local media scolded Tucker for defending Corson and taking costly penalties. "I'm an emotional guy, and I play an emotional game," says Tucker, who had 141 penalty minutes, third highest on the team. "I didn't want anyone messing with Shayne. He was going through some things, and with him 34 and 20 pounds lighter than usual, I didn't want him getting hurt."
Corson can't pinpoint an event that quelled his panic attacks. His recovery was, he says, "a long and gradual process," in which he leaned on Tucker, spoke to a psychiatrist regularly and took his antianxiety medication. By the playoffs he had begun to shake his demons, and in Toronto's first-round sweep of the Ottawa Senators he shadowed star center Alexei Yashin so effectively—Yashin had no goals and only 12 shots—that he was arguably the Leafs' most valuable skater in the round.
Over the summer Corson gained back those 20 pounds and his levity. Zullo, who lives with Corson and his family in the off-season partly to keep Corson and Tucker eating healthfully, recalls that the two buddies would return from the market with ice cream and claim they'd bought it for the kids. "One time Shayne's [five-year-old] daughter Sommer came to me and said, 'Uncle Paul, go see what Daddy's doing,' " Zullo says. "I walked into the kitchen, and Shayne and Darcy were devouring this huge tub of ice cream and cracking up. I let that one slide."
Last Thursday, against the Carolina Hurricanes, Corson converted the rebound of a Tucker shot for his first goal of the season and the 250th of his career. Brother Love played splendidly on either side of center Travis Green, and the Maple Leafs won 3-2. "Things are better this year," Corson says. "Panic is something I'll always have to deal with, but last year was as bad as it could get. If it had to happen, I'm lucky it happened the way it did. Sometimes I think it was fate that Darcy was there."