Wings acquire Pens' Cross, trade Rivers to Coyotes

DETROIT -- The Detroit Red Wings acquired defenseman Cory Cross from the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday for a fourth-round pick in 2007 and traded defenseman Jamie Rivers to the Phoenix Coyotes for a seventh-round selection this year.

It was a relatively quiet trade deadline day for the Western Conference leaders.

"We didn't want to do anything significant because our team has performed pretty well," general manager Ken Holland said in a phone interview Thursday. "A lot of our players are playing well, and some could be better, so we didn't think a major trade made sense.

"We made two deals to add a player to compete for one of the last spots on defense," he said.

Cross played in Pittsburgh for just six games after he was acquired from Edmonton in January. He has six points in 40 games this season and 129 career points during a 12-year career. Cross also played for the New York Rangers, Toronto Maple Leafs and Tampa Bay Lightning.

Rivers had one point in 15 games this season for the Red Wings after posting seven points in 50 games during the 2003-04 season. He also played for the Florida Panthers, Boston Bruins, Ottawa Senators, New York Islanders and St. Louis Blues, making his NHL debut with the Blues during the 1995-96 season. Rivers has 57 career points.

"Things just didn't work out with Jamie Rivers and the new coaching staff, and that seemed to start in training camp," Holland said. "That led to him not playing as much or producing like he did two years ago.

"Cross is a veteran that adds some size [6-foot-5, 225 pounds] to our defense, and while he's not really physical, he's not going to get pushed around. Nothing is guaranteed for him, but he'll get a chance to compete for a spot," he said.

Before this season, the Red Wings had to cut their payroll almost in half to get under the NHL's new $39 million salary cap. In the past, with owner Mike Ilitch's blessing and money, the Red Wings at times added high-priced players at the trade deadline even if they liked their team.