Wings' turn for big deal

LANCE HORNBY -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:15 AM ET

With the Peter Forsberg action figure off the shelf, contending playoff shoppers are in a mad scramble for the next best item before the store closes a week tomorrow.

Conveniently, all those holding the purse strings are going to be in the same room early this week during general managers' meetings in Naples, Fla.

Keep your eye on the Detroit Red Wings, a team that a) loves big deadline deals b) needs some size and scoring to spell off Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg and c) has vivid reminders of their first-round loss of last season.

Unwilling to let go the big draft picks/prospects package that allowed Nashville to get Forsberg from the Flyers, they'll take a good look at Bill Guerin, his Blues Brother Keith Tkachuk or even Todd Bertuzzi of the Florida Panthers, provided recent setbacks to his recovery from back surgery are not serious.

In Buffalo, where skill players such as Maxim Afinogenov are injured, the greater need might also be in the size department replacing checker Paul Gaustad. A campaign has started to bring back Clarence, N.Y.'s Kevyn Adams from Phoenix.

Gary Roberts could be in that picture, too. One report in Florida had 10 possible destinations for Roberts, but any NHL city in driving distance to Toronto is his likely destination. It's expected Roberts will seek a one-year extension from any prospective team, which complicates matters.

"There had been a number of teams waiting to discuss Forsberg and (the deal Thursday) will probably clear the log jam a bit," Leafs GM John Ferguson said of the meetings. "There is a bigger dividing line in the Western Conference now (thanks in part to his team's win over the Oilers on Saturday), more definition of the top teams."

When not talking trade, the GMs have a lengthy agenda, with notions such as one-minute penalties in overtime to soften the blow of a 4-on-3 power play.

Ferguson hopes some of his ideas make it to the floor.

"Are the longer TV timeouts working the way they're intended to? Is the pace of the game (satisfactory) as far as keeping the speed in and the physicality up? I think we'll discuss taking back some money in trades and who knows where that will go. There probably will be some word from the league on (CBA) grievances and updates from the legal side."

OSCAR MADISONS

With the Academy Awards on Sunday, the ratings-starved NHL should be thinking about its own Oscar show. So with apologies to Roger Ebert ...

Best Actor: Gary Bettman. Never one to let empty seats or flat-line TV numbers faze him, the commish keeps going to the podium to put on a happy face.

Best Supporting Role: Evgeni Malkin for The Sidney Crosby Story, just edging out Ron MacLean and the Sedin twins (dual eligibility).

Best Director: A horse race between David (Cronenberg) Poile, Ken (Alfred) Hitchcock, Ron (Howard) Wilson and Stephen (Spielberg) Walkom.

Best Animated: Pierre McGuire.

Best Short Subject: Martin St. Louis.

Best Original Score(s): Alexander Ovechkin.

Original Song: Too close to call: I Want To Drive The Zamboni; Here Come The Hawks (The Mighty Blackhawks); Waterloo (Jim Balsillie with ABBA) and Don't Break My Heart (Like A Composite Stick).

Foreign Language Film: Any Malkin media scrum, with subtitles.

Best Costume Design: Old Montreal Canadiens.

Worst Costume Design: New Buffalo Sabres.

Best Picture: Gone With The Win: Lavish period piece about life in the era of the one-point tie.

AROUND THE LEAGUE

Two days before Ladislav Nagy was traded to Dallas, Phoenix coach Wayne Gretzky made this general comment about slackers: "I understand that everyone makes mistakes. The thing that I can't live with is (poor) work ethic. That's why I respect guys like Shane Doan, Crosby and (Scott) Niedermayer. They just work hard every single game and enjoy working hard. You can't play 80 good games. You can't practise well every day. But you can try every day and you can work hard every day." ... The Wings put a twist on their father-son trip, as 40-somethings Dominik Hasek and Chris Chelios brought their high school-aged sons. The Anaheim Ducks also have the dads along this month. GM Brian Burke jokes about saving money because the Niedermayer brothers count for one pop.

THE WEEK AHEAD

Forsberg settles in for a long homestand, but will Nashville's fickle crowds come out at mid-week? ... Boston gets a crack at the Leafs after a 10-2 loss last month, while a different Flyers team will give the Leafs a better game at home on Saturday.


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