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March 13, 2003 - Wings anticipate intense Osgood
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Wings anticipate intense Osgood

March 13, 2003

BY NICHOLAS J. COTSONIKA
FREE PRESS SPORTS WRITER

PHOENIX -- So what does it mean to the Red Wings that their friend and former teammate, goaltender Chris Osgood, went from the New York Islanders to the St. Louis Blues before Tuesday's trade deadline?

Forward Kirk Maltby shrugged.

"They've got a nice guy for a goalie," he said.

Center Kris Draper smiled.

"It's going to be a lot more intense," he said. "When he was on the Island, we saw him twice a year. Now he's with a rival of this hockey club, so those games obviously mean a lot more. We're going into their building twice (March 22 and 29), and they're right with us (in the Central Division race). We've got to try to get as many pucks by him as possible."

Draper said games against the Wings would be especially important to Osgood.

"There's nothing more he'd like to do than beat our hockey club," Draper said.

TEPPO TALKS: Defenseman Teppo Numminen might have been playing for the Wings on Wednesday. But he didn't waive his no-trade clause, so he was in uniform for the Coyotes.

"You for sure start thinking about it" when a team like Detroit is interested, Numminen said. "It was an honor to hear that. But I just didn't feel comfortable leaving in the middle of the season."

Numminen is the Coyotes' captain, and he has been with the franchise his entire 15-year NHL career. He said his personal life was a major factor. His wife, Ann-Maarit,has had difficult pregnancies in the past, and they are expecting their second child April 23.

FUN IN THE SUN: While some of the Wings played golf after practice Tuesday, eight of them played baseball.

Draper has kept in touch with former Tiger Phil Nevin, and Nevin arranged a visit to the San Diego Padres' spring training camp in Peoria, Ariz. Draper, Maltby, Mathieu Dandenault, Curtis Joseph, Manny Legace, Luc Robitaille and company watched a few innings of an exhibition, then shagged flies and took batting practice.

Padre Ryan Klesko gave the Wings hitting tips. Broadcaster and part-time coach Rick Sutcliffe, a former Cy Young Award winner, pitched to them. (Nevin was busy having shoulder surgery.)

"It was unbelievable," Draper said. "Manny hit a good ball. Cujo took some rips at it. No one hit one out, though. Warning-track power, they were calling it."

John Hahn,the Wings' senior director of communications, had the most interesting day, however. He went skydiving.

NOTEBOOK: Forward Boyd Devereaux and defensemen Patrick Boileau and Jesse Wallin were healthy scratches.