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Flyers look to bolster wings with physical Tibbetts

Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA -- Two days before the trade deadline, the Philadelphia Flyers sent center Kent Manderville to Pittsburgh for Penguins forward Billy Tibbetts on Sunday.

"Manderville wasn't playing for us, and Tibbetts is a very rugged, much more physical player," Flyers GM Bob Clarke said. "We just think it was an upgrade on the wings, and Tibbetts can play center as well."

Tibbetts, 27, played in 33 games for the Penguins this season, recording one goal, five assists and 109 penalty minutes.

Manderville, 30, had two goals and five assists in 34 games this season.

Clarke said he had not anticipated the deal for Tibbetts, who pleaded guilty in 1994 to raping a 15-year-old girl at a 1992 party in Scituate, Mass. He was 17 at the time and received a suspended sentence of three to five years, with four years' probation.

When he moved to Pittsburgh, he was identified as a convicted sex offender in fliers given out in his neighborhood.

Later in 1994, Tibbetts received a suspended sentence of six months and 18 months' probation on charges of assault and battery on a police officer, disorderly conduct and intimidating a witness.

In 1995, he was found guilty on charges of assault and battery with a BB gun. He was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison and was ordered to serve the rape sentence at the same time for violating probation in that case.

Tibbetts was paroled Oct. 29, 1999, the Massachusetts Department of Corrections said.

Because of his rape conviction, a Pennsylvania law requires him to register as a sex offender with police each year for 10 years if he works in the state.

"The problems that he had was over 10 years ago, when he was a teen-ager," Clarke said. "I think that everything's been fine since.

"It's not anything that we can do anything about, and he'll have to talk to the press about it."

Clarke described Tibbetts as a hard worker who will be an asset in the playoffs.

"We think that ... if you run into injuries, he can move well up into the lineup. He's a talented player and we think he's the type of player that can help us in the playoffs."

Manderville, a 6-foot-3, 200-pound native of Edmonton, was selected by Calgary in the second round of the 1989 draft.

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