Forsberg now Central issue
February 16, 2007
BY GEORGE SIPPLE
FREE PRESS SPORTS WRITER
PHOENIX -- Peter Forsberg is coming to the NHL's Central Division, but he's not going to be wearing a winged wheel.
The Philadelphia Flyers traded Forsberg to the Nashville Predators for Scottie Upshall, Ryan Parent and two draft picks. Upshall was the sixth overall pick in the 2002 draft; Parent, who hasn't played in the NHL, was the 18th overall pick in 2005.
"Great addition for Nashville," said Red Wings general manager Ken Holland. "Obviously, Philadelphia got three first-round picks. (Nashville) paid a lot of futures, but they got themselves a great player."
"We made a pitch. Obviously, we came up short."
Holland said he last spoke with Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren two days ago.
Did it ever get to a point where Forsberg was asked if he would report to the Wings?
"I asked Paul Holmgren; he seemed to think we had a shot at him," Holland said. "But it never got to the point where we got a deal done. So, I don't know if he would have reported or wouldn't have, other than the manager telling me he assumed we'd be a team on his list."
The Wings are 2-1-0 against the Predators with five more meetings. The teams next meet in Nashville on Feb. 24.
"He's going to help their cause in the race for the division," Holland said.
The Predators (39-16-3) have a one-point lead over the Wings (37-16-6) in the Central Division and have played one fewer game.
Forsberg, 33, gives the Predators a proven playoff performer. He has 162 points in 139 career playoff games, including 61 goals.
Whether he can stay healthy is the big question. Forsberg, who becomes an unrestricted free agent July 1, has missed 16 games this season with a variety of injuries, including a concussion, groin problems and sore back. He also has had various problems finding a comfortable skate for his right foot. He has 40 points this season.
Among forwards the Wings are believed to be interested in are the Panthers' Todd Bertuzzi and Gary Roberts, and the Blues' Keith Tkachuk and Bill Guerin.BLUE COLLAR DAD:
Of all the people accompanying the Wings on their father-son trip this week, Richard Lictawa of Lapeer might represent the Everyman.
Lictawa, Kirk Maltby's father-in-law, worked at Chrysler in the early '80s before suffering a knee injury on the job. His daughter, Wendy, met Maltby a couple of seasons after he joined the Wings.
"I'm very fortunate," Lictawa said. "My daughter found one of the nice guys."
Maltby brought his father on the dad's trip last year and decided to bring his father-in-law this time.
"He's obviously watched the Wings all his life," Maltby said. "He's definitely blue collar.
"Back five, 10 years ago, I'm sure he never thought he'd get this opportunity to go with the Red Wings on a road trip."VALENTINE'S DAY:
Going on the trip meant some of the fathers missed Valentine's Day with their significant other. Kris Draper's father, Mike, had a plan for leaving his wife in Toronto.
"I made sure the flowers arrived" on Valentine's Day, Mike said. "We'll go out for dinner next week."NOTEBOOK:
The Wings spent Thursday in Phoenix but didn't practice. Instead, it was scheduled as the activity day for the dads, including golf.
Contact GEORGE SIPPLE at 313-223-4796 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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