Forsberg to use tourney as gauge

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:21 AM ET

Peter Forsberg's NHL audition begins in a couple of weeks.

The unrestricted free-agent centre announced yesterday he will suit up for Sweden at the four-team Karjala Cup next month in Finland to see if he's ready to return to the league.

The 34-year-old Forsberg, who hasn't played since Nashville was eliminated from the playoffs last spring, wants to see if he's fully recovered from ankle and groin injuries

The Senators, Avalanche, Stars, Flyers and Red Wings are considered frontrunners to land his services.

"I feel like it's a really good time to see if I am fully healthy," Forsberg told the Swedish newspaper Expressen last night. "This is going to give me a chance to play and see where everything is at."

Forsberg will make his debut against the Russia on Nov. 8 in Sweden. He will then travel with the squad to Helsinki to face participants from the Czech Republic on Nov. 10 and Finland on Nov. 11.

"I won't decide anything before this tournament and I won't decide anything immediately after, but this will be a good chance to give it a test," said Forsberg.

ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT: C Jason Spezza has bad news for the rest of the NHL: The Senators can be better. It's a month into the season and Ottawa has a 9-1 record as it prepares to the face the Thrashers on Thursday at Scotiabank Place, but Spezza says the Senators are from perfect. "We can do a lot of things better than we're doing," Spezza said following a two-hour workout yesterday. "A lot of times we're turning the puck over still and our power play hasn't been as good as it will be once we get rolling a little bit. Our penalty killing has been good, but it can be better. There's always little things to improve on. (Coach) John (Paddock) is not going to let us be content. That's for sure. He's always very meticulous. He goes over a lot the video with us and he's always teaching us." Paddock points to some of the great Montreal teams, especially the 1976-77 Canadiens, who finished with an NHL-record 60-8-12 season and went on to win the Stanley Cup. He's not sure the Senators can earn 132 points this season, but he'd like them to be as prepared as possible for a strong post-season. "I don't think there's any such thing (as peaking). You just have to play right. That's an attitude and a mental thing Did the Montreal Canadiens in the mid-1970s, when they lost (eight) games all year, did they peak? I think they peaked all year," said Paddock. "They didn't think they were the best and that's why (they succeeded). If you're the best and you do things right, when do you peak? You always want to play good."

GETTING CLOSE: Senators C Dean McAmmond said he hopes to play against the Thrashers, but won't make a decision until tomorrow. While McAmmond is fully recovered from the concussion he suffered Sept. 25 on a blow to the head by Flyers F Steve Downie, it's the shoulder injury he suffered on the dirty hit that has impeded his return. "I'm hoping to (be in the lineup on) Thursday," said McAmmond."


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