NHL

What Sore Foot?: Forsberg Makes Olympic Cut

PHILADELPHIA - AUGUST 15:  (L-R) Peter Forsberg and General Manger Bob Clarke attend a press conference introducing Forsberg as a Philadelphia Flyer at the Wachovia Center on August 15, 2005 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
Billy WestContributor IJanuary 2, 2010

Is Peter Forsberg a player that we are going to look back on and say, "What an awesome player, but what ever happened to him?"

When I think of great players, names come to mind such as Gretzky (of course), Lemieux, and players today like Ovechkin and Crosby, but I put Forsberg in a special place that says, "shear skill and finesse, and more than able to throw his weight around'.

Forsberg has never played a regular season of ice hockey with a negative +/- rating, even in those two shocking Flyers seasons he managed +21 and +2. He is eighth in the NHL for points per game with 1.254, and plays a selfless style of hockey which sees many of his unexpected passes reach the tape of a player with an empty portion of net directly in front of them.

Writing this I'm reminded of Claude Giroux, a "mini Forsberg" in the making, in my mind, in that his passes seem to even surprise his linemates at times, and even the goalie for that matter. If the Flyers even try to include him in a trade for Kovalchuk as rumored, I'll lose all faith in Flyers GM Paul Holmgren, but that's another topic.

Forsberg has been named in the Swedish team to take ice at Vancouver this year, something that was not certain for some time, but was warranted after a great start with Modo in the Swedish Elite League this season, despite Forsberg's Achilles Heel, his relentless foot.

But as many before me have stated over the past three or so years, "a 75 percent healthy Forsberg is still better than many players still in the NHL." A point proved when he returned to the Avalanche for an end-of-season boost in 2009 and scored 14 points in nine games. He entered a team and played only nine regular season games, yet still had more than a point per game regardless of his foot issues and new line chemistry.

Despite this, Forsberg has stated he does not want to return to the NHL in his current state, and would prefer to see out his career in Sweden instead of come back to the NHL a lesser player than his former self.

Which is understandable, you know those bands which disappoint you because their latest albums are mere shadows of their former ones, the ones which you became their fan for? He clearly doesn't want to create that album that taints the whole discology.

Perhaps if his foot problems go away for good we won't ask ourselves, "What happened to Forsberg?" Perhaps he'll fill the gap left by Sakic on Colorado's roster, or instead search for a fresh start in a club who shows promise for some good seasons ahead.

If Forsberg plays well in the Olympics in front of the entire hockey world, maybe then a team will offer him a contract that will sway him back into the NHL, but until then we can only speculate. All I know is I can't wait to see him play again.

 

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