When the Flyers acquired former first-round pick Steve Downie back from the Avalanche for Max Talbot on Halloween, many around the hockey community threw up their hands in question.

Colorado was 10-1-0 at the time.

Why did the Avalanche believe that was the time to trade a player skating on its first line for a player best suited for the penalty kill?

Soon after, multiple reports surfaced saying that Avalanche brass made the decision to move Downie after a questionable incident in training camp.

During a scrimmage camp, Downie reportedly crosschecked Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog in the back of the head. Downie and Landeskog, 21, got into a shoving match after the incident and traded verbal blows but punches were never thrown.

"Downie got mad at Landeskog for a trip during a scrimmage and drilled him," Hockey Night in Canada's Elliott Friedman reported in November. "I was told basically the Avalanche had decided that when that happened and Downie was basically unapologetic about it, the time was going to come where he was going to get dealt."

Downie, now 26, had a similar on-ice altercation with a teammate, Akim Aliu, in training camp in junior hockey in 2005-06. He was suspended five games for that incident, in which he knocked out three of Aliu's teeth with a crosscheck to the face and the two also fought.

Finally with a chance to respond to the reports, Downie said yesterday he does not believe his spat with Landeskog was the reason for his trade.

"I think it was [overblown]," Downie said. "I don't make the trades. I really can't comment on it. Writers are going to write what they want. I never saw anyone quoted or anything.

"You'd have to ask [the Avalanche]. I'd say me and 'Landy' had a great relationship."

To this point, the trade has been one of the best of Paul Holmgren's tenure as general manager. The Flyers entered last night's quick and dirty referendum 17-8-4 since the trade; the Avalanche have gone 14-10-4 since Halloween.

"They got rid of the bad apple," Talbot joked yesterday.

Talbot, 29, was caught completely off-guard with the trade.

"It's part of the business of hockey, but you never expect it. When it happens to you, it's a lot of stress in a short period of time," Talbot said. "I just left practice, after a normal practice day, I was going home to have lunch and I got the call from 'Homer.' You get the call from Joe Sakic and Patrick Roy and they tell you to meet the team in Dallas 3 hours later."

For Talbot, the hardest part about his cross-country swap was leaving behind his girlfriend, Canadian figure skater Cynthia Phaneuf, who is expecting the couple's first child Feb. 5.

Luckily, they found a buyer for their Center City home on its first day on the market. Cynthia was on her way to Colorado within 2 weeks.