(Voorhees, NJ, January 26) – Flyers captain Peter Forsberg returned to practice on Friday, and it did not take long for local reporters to ask him about a report out of Colorado that said he wanted to return to his former team.
"I read in the paper today that I spoke with somebody in Colorado. I did not talk to anybody in Colorado," he said. "I would never do that; that would be the wrong way to go about the whole thing in the first place. I did not talk to anybody, so that is wrong for that station there to come out and say that.
"I will speak to [Paul] Holmgren in the next couple of days to sort this situation out. As I have said all along, I wanted to see how my foot [feels] and then we can start thinking about the future. Like everybody knows, I have been still struggling with my foot. We will see what happens and if I feel better. All along I have said that I like it here, even if I had a hard year. All I can do to help the Flyers I will do, so we will see what happens."
Forsberg used the All-Star break to travel back to Sweden immediately after last Saturday's game in New Jersey in order to further explore his foot issues with a doctor in his homeland.
"I got a lot of things done. We will see [Saturday] how it feels during the game, but it definitely feels better," said Forsberg. "We worked on it everyday I was over there. They were definitely a couple of good days.
"The next couple of games are going to be crucial."
While the rumors surrounding Forsberg are sure to pick up between now and the February 27 NHL trading deadline, teammates, such as Mike Knuble, hope that everything works out for the best.
"As players, we want to keep Peter here and we would love to see him get everything rectified," said Knuble. "The players that are coming back, those of us that have years left, would love to see him back. He's a terrific player and a terrific teammate. Nobody would want to see him go, but at the same time you know it's part of the business. Teams want a player like him because he helps win Stanley Cups."
Knuble knows that trade rumors are just a part of the game this time of the year and does not foresee any distractions.
"He's been around the media attention so much with everyone talking about it, so I don't even think it fazes him," said Knuble. "He just keeps playing and can handle a lot whereas some guys may have trouble. I think he will handle it and hopefully the team does as well."
Flyers Head Coach John Stevens is also taking things on a game-by-game basis and is hopeful that Forsberg continues to progress.
"We are excited that he is playing and that he is making progress with his foot issue. We are just game planning, and just kind of narrowing the focus with the group that is here and that includes him."
Stevens Reacts to Emotional Outburst
Stevens was asked after practice about an incident on Thursday that occurred on the ice during the Flyers' first practice after the All-Star break. Todd Fedoruk threw a punch at defenseman Joni Pitkanen, which was caught on tape by Comcast SportsNet.
"Emotions run high sometimes and this happened to happen during a drill, and I think it's good that there is this much intensity in a drill," said Stevens.
"The thing I always loved about hockey is things like that can happen and you move on. Those two guys have spoken; we did not hide around it, we didn't pretend it didn't happen. Those things happen all the time and I have seen a lot worse incidents than that in my time in hockey. If anything, it's a good sign that there is intensity in the drill and the guys are that much into the drill where emotions run high. That is the good thing about hockey. It happens, you deal with it, and those guys were laughing and joking this morning."