Sens on Forsberg's short list

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:03 AM ET

MONTREAL -- The Senators are alive in the bidding war for Peter Forsberg.

A league source told the Sun yesterday that the Senators are on the "short list" of teams the unrestricted free-agent centre has put together as he prepares to make his return to the NHL.

While the Flyers are believed to be the frontrunners, sources say the Senators, Stars, Wings, Avalanche, Predators, Sharks, Canucks and Ducks have all made a pitch for Forsberg, who is preparing to make a decision.

Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson, who has been following Forsberg's progress in Swedish newspapers, told the Sun that he hasn't spoken to the all-star, but reiterated the club would welcome him.

"He'll probably make his decision based on wanting to go to a good team," said Alfredsson. "I don't know what other reasons he would have, but we would love to have him. There's no question about that."

Forsberg, 34, met with Flyers GM Paul Holmgren on the weekend and wouldn't commit to returning to the NHL, let alone talk about rejoining Philadelphia.

"I honestly don't have a feeling for what his decision will be and I didn't get to see him skate," Holmgren said yesterday. "From talking to him, I am not sure he is ready in his own mind. He doesn't seem to know if he's okay. When he's ready, he'll make a decision."

Part of the reason Holmgren made the trip to Sweden was to reassure Forsberg the Flyers would like him to come back.

The word is the Flyers don't mind if Forsberg joins a Western Conference team, but Holmgren -- who is believed to have offered a pro rated $2.6-million US deal for the rest of the year -- doesn't want to see his former captain playing for an Eastern Conference team.

"Who knows if Peter will come back and play at all." said Holmgren.

BACK TO GERBER: Senators coach John Paddock is sticking with his "win and you're in" goalie plan. While G Ray Emery wasn't to blame for the 4-2 loss to the Maple Leafs on Saturday, Martin Gerber will start tonight against the Canadiens in Montreal. With the Habs closing in on the Senators, Gerber has a chance to show he can handle the pressure. "It's nice to get a chance in a big game," said Gerber. Gerber avoided the question when asked if Paddock needs to ride a goalie into the playoffs, but admitted that neither he nor Emery is happy with the current situation. "It is what is. If you win, it's great and you have the chance to build on something. If you're out, you're not happy about it," said Gerber. "You want to be in there and helping the team win. There's only so much you can say about it." Asked if the Senators needed to name a No. 1 goalie, D Wade Redden said it isn't necessary: "If you ask the goalies, they'd probably say yes. It doesn't really matter who is in the net to us," said Redden. "It's a decision that has been made every night. That's something (Paddock) is going have to decide. Whoever is in there, we've got to play better in front of them. It's not a matter of pointing the finger at the goalie and thinking he's got to stop everything. Whoever is in there is going to have to do the job for us as well."

THE INJURY REPORT: Alfredsson skated before yesterday's optional workout, but isn't ready to go. He is planning to skate today and would like to suit up vs. Florida on Thursday at Scotiabank Place. "I'm going to try to come back as quick as I can," said Alfredsson. "It's always tough when you're not playing, whether the team is playing well or not." As for W Dany Heatley, it's looking like he could play Saturday vs. Montreal at home, but he doesn't want to put a timetable on it. "That would be great, but I don't know that we want to tie all our hopes to that," said Paddock. "He will play as soon as he is given clearance to play."


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