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Teammates Understanding of Forsberg's Situation

by Staff Writer / Philadelphia Flyers
(Voorhees, NJ, December 15) – While Peter Forsberg has missed the last four games due to his foot/ankle discomfort, his teammates understand where he is coming from as he looks for a remedy to his problem. Forsberg remained in Montreal on Friday and is questionable to play in the team's game in Washington on Saturday night (7:00 p.m., Comcast SportsNet, 94.1 WYSP).

While it may not be apparent to the average onlooker when he is playing, Forsberg has not felt like himself on the ice, leading to his sitting out.

"I think at this point it comes down to Peter and where he feels he's at. Right now, before he left for Montreal, the percentage was way under 50 percent in his mind," said John Stevens. "He feels like he can't do the things he needs to do, he's vulnerable and he's like a train on tracks and he can't get off [when he is skating]."

Forsberg is used to being one of the top players in the game, if not the best, when completely healthy. Because of that, it's easier to understand his mindset, said Mike Knuble.

"You have to understand Peter. I'm sure he could go out there right now and be an average player, and chip in here and there, but not being what he was [before the skate problems] bothers the heck out of him," said Knuble.

"Players like that are used to being on top, and don't take too kindly to not being on top. Peter is at the point where he feels it's not his skills eroding, but it's his gear that is holding him back. Everybody in the room understands that. As a player, we know that when he does come back it will be at 100 percent."

Todd Fedoruk has yet to play a game with the Flyers with Forsberg in the lineup. His first game back with the club was against New Jersey on December 2, when Forsberg sat out due to the flu.

"I'd love to have a guy like that in the lineup every night. But if he can't play, he can't play. If this gets this thing done, I think we're all hoping for a little Christmas gift here," said Fedoruk.

Fedoruk added that he thinks Forsberg is taking the correct route in waiting until he feels at least close to 100 percent before getting back in the lineup.

"If I was in that situation, I wouldn't want to keep coming in and out and in and out. If you know he's out, you deal with what you have. If you don't know he's out, it's kind of a downer [when you learn] he's out again. That can get in your head."

Forsberg was due to arrive back in Philadelphia on Friday evening, and will join the team for the Saturday morning skate in Washington if possible.

Even if he is able to play, it will take a team effort to ensure the Flyers start winning said Simon Gagne.

"Peter is a great player, and I don't know if he's coming back tomorrow, but I don't think one guy is going to make a difference on winning the hockey games," said Gagne. "We're going to have to help him when he comes back. He alone isn't going to make us win games."

Potulny Impresses Stevens

If Forsberg is not able to go, Stevens may use rookie Ryan Potulny between Knuble and Gagne. Potulny got a look there towards the end of the team's last game in Pittsburgh on Wednesday.

"We tried Ryan there late in the game the other night and I thought he did some good things," said Stevens. "He's got good vision with the puck, he's real tenacious, and when you put a couple veteran guys around a young guy they have the ability to make him better, too."

Potulny scored his first NHL goal on Wednesday in Pittsburgh and has three points in seven games with the Flyers this season.

Jeff Carter accompanied the team to Washington and will take part in the morning skate on Saturday morning. He is hoping to return next week from the broken bone in his left foot. … Defenseman David Printz and forward Darren Reid were recalled from the Phantoms. They will play if Freddy Meyer (back spasms) and Sami Kapanen (sore back) are not able to go.
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