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Once more with feeling: Peter Forsberg to practice with Avalanche – Last chance at a comeback?

Jan 21, 2011, 4:53 PM EDT

forsberg

Thus proving that it’s never truly a dull moment in the day until there’s some wacky news about a Peter Forsberg comeback, Colorado announced today that Forsberg will, indeed, be practicing with the Avalanche starting tomorrow. Is he just working out for the heck of it because he’s in Denver? Does skating in the altitude make him feel better? Did he miss the Rocky Mountain Oysters?

No, it’s much more serious than that.

“I need to see where I am physically and practicing with NHL players is the best way to find that out,” said Forsberg.

A player doesn’t get to practice with a NHL team because he feels like it. Granted, Forsberg essentially has carte blanche in Denver to do as he wants to. But another attempt at a comeback? Oh boy.

We’ve roasted previous stories about Forsberg even discussing making a comeback in the NHL and gotten a good chuckle out of it just the same and this is no different. After all, he stopped playing for his Swedish taem MODO because he was still having issues with his forever injured foot. The fact that the Avalanche have swung the doors open for Forsberg to practice with the team either speaks to their need to replace Tomas Fleischmann, who’s out for the season after discovering he has pulmonary emboli, or to the fact the Avalanche are having a terrible time drawing fans to Pepsi Center.

The Avs are drawing an average of 14,470 fans per game, good for 82% capacity, 23rd best percentage in the NHL (source). Despite the team being youthful, fast, and exciting to watch they haven’t been able to win fans back after the Avalanche struggled to go deep in the playoffs for a few seasons. Gone are the days of Forsberg, Joe Sakic, and Patrick Roy and gone with them have been the sellout crowds that were synonymous with Avalanche hockey. If bringing Forsberg back even just to practice with the team will get the casual fans to take notice again then, hey, that’s a great move and doesn’t really do anything to affect team chemistry.

If the Avs really think that Forsberg can be a contributor to the team they’re out of their minds. We’ve seen this act from Forsberg before in ill-fated seasons with the Flyers and Predators where anything positive he tried to bring to those teams was eventually submarined by injury problems.

A player has the right to play as long as he wants to, but in this case, it seems like most fans want to remember Forsberg for being the dominating power forward of the late 90s/early 2000s and not for being the NHL’s answer to Brett Favre.

  1. polegojim - Jan 21, 2011 at 6:16 PM

    UGH — enough is enough already Peter!!

    Peter the Great will soon be known as Peter, who doesn’t know when to quit.

    • trigdaddy - Jan 21, 2011 at 10:12 PM

      or Peter Favre

      • lessentropy - Jan 22, 2011 at 6:44 PM

        An easy but poor comparison; a 2nd or 3rd string wing is far less critical to a team’s overall success than a quarterback. Forsberg has never announced retirement, nor made a team wait months on end to make personnel decisions while he ponders his legacy. A team as young as the Avs could benefit from the presence of a Hall of Fame lock, as well as drawing fans back to a rebuilt roster that has its best years ahead of it. If Forsberg comes anywhere close to the 1.5+ PPG production of his last stint with Colorado, he could again be the difference between a first-round victory and missing the post-season altogether. Ultimately the decision will happen between the club and the player, but the bulk of real hockey fans in Colorado are in full support of Foppa’s Last Stand. He’ll retire as an Av, whether it be next week or several years from now, but could easily earn a spot on the squad before that day comes. Circling back to the Favre comparison: Dont forget that he put up career numbers in more than one stat and brought a mediocre team within one bad pass of the SuperBowl in the season prior to his self-destruction. Thats what people will remember or read about 30 years from now. Someone who has proven to be an order of magnitude better at their job than other mortals should be allowed to decide when “enough is enough,” whether its Favre, Forsberg, or Harry the Mechanic. Is any telling Betty White or Warren Buffett to hang it up? Its the athlete and sports medicine professional’s job to decide when they’re no longer capable of perfomring, and its a fans job to shut up and enjoy the show.

  2. hammer1836 - Jan 27, 2011 at 6:55 PM

    Dubious comparison.
    Forsberg has earned the right to keep trying to play.
    Get off his back.

  3. polegojim - Jan 28, 2011 at 10:27 AM

    @lessentrophy: No – it’s a fans job to comment on what ‘we think’ on a blog site designed exactly for that reason. If you don’t agree, fine. Or if you don’t like the comments – just sit back and enjoy our show in silence.

    Favre will also be known for his retirement, non-retirment melt down. One comeback I get. A series of failures I don’t.

    Enough is enough when his last 2 attempts flopped horribly, under the same conditions.
    Enough is enough when he takes a roster position that could solidify younger talent that will be in Colorado 2 years from now.

    @hammer1836 – I’ve enjoyed watching Forsberg for years. It’s not about rights, its about reality. I’m not on his back, I’m into reality. Reality is: Peter is a great player who is done and been done. Why not go out honorably and gracefully? Steve, Yzerman, John Elway, Walter Peyton, Barry Sanders, Wayne Gretsky, Joe Sackic. Be remembered for being great. If he wants to be in hockey at this time, then coach.

    If they needed a winger, that might…might be different. They don’t. This move is not rebuilding, it’s mild demolition. This will prove to be just another distraction that will create a line disconnect at a time when consistency is critical.

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