I'm not sure about you, but I certainly thought it was a joke, or at least a clever headline designed to grab a reader's attention.
"Peter Forsberg Considering Comeback with Colorado Avalanche" was the headline I saw a couple of weeks ago that made me think that the "comeback" might have been a job in the Av's front-office, or maybe even behind the bench; anything but as a player.
But no, as I read on, I learned he was indeed eying a return to the ice...again.
Hearing that Forsberg is considering an NHL comeback has become about as surprising as learning that Charlie Sheen has decided to enter drug-rehab.
For both, it seems to have simply become a matter of course, and not something particularly newsworthy anymore.
However, in Forsberg's case, it's hard not to have a little bit of compassion for the guy (and believe me, as a Detroit Red Wings fan, that's tough to say).
Forsberg isn't looking to come back to the NHL because he's run out of cash or because he's looking for a higher profile, or for that elusive Stanley Cup he never won.
He's got tons of cash, is still a household name in his native Sweden and much of North America, and has two Stanley Cup rings on his hand.
There really is no reason he needs to play in the NHL again, except for one—he loves the game.
As an NHL fan, news of Forsberg making a comeback has grown tiresome and, at this point, predictable. But as hockey player, I can fully understand his passion.
As of now, there's little reason to get excited. Forsberg has just begun practicing with Colorado and has no idea how far he'll go with them.
After seeing foot specialists all over the world and having dozens, if not hundreds of skate boots made for him, in the end his wonky right foot may still plant itself firmly in retirement and keep all of Forsberg in the same situation.
Having a player of Forsberg's talent in the NHL would be great for the game (excuse me while I bite my tongue, ouch!). Nevertheless, it may only be a fantasy.
That last bit got me thinking, Forsberg making a comeback to the NHL may be as likely as Ted Lindsay or Bobby Clarke suiting up for the Red Wings or Flyers.
Considering that, why not get really stupid and start looking at some of the all-time greatest players we'd love to see comeback to the NHL today.
Granted, the game has changed much over the last 10 years or so and is nearly a whole different animal than it was in the 50's and 60's.
But still, there's some players who played back then that could probably be just as exciting to watch in today's NHL as they were decades ago.
As today's game emphasizes speed and skill like never before, there are plenty of old-timers that, in their prime, could easily fit in to the 2011 version of NHL hockey.
Additionally, today's game still requires a hefty amount of jam and toughness, something the star players of yesteryear had fistfuls of (and man were they only to happy to use those too).
Finally, surveying all the players currently in the NHL, one finds few, if any, iconic captains.
There's a couple who could make a bid for that title, yet, the days of a handful of players being universally respected, admired and revered as a leader are, at least for now, gone.
What follows is a list of 25 players that, in their prime, could not only keep up with today's game, but likely dominate it the way they did when they played it.
You'll find some pretty predictable names on this list, but also plenty of characters that, had they access to Twitter and multiple media outlets, would make today's game a hell of a lot more colorful off the ice as well!
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Forget about hits to the head, "Terrible" Ted Lindsay would hit you anywhere he could get to you if meant winning a game.
The smallish forward played at a time when the game was much more brutal than it is today, and he realized that whatever he lacked in size, he needed to make up for in shear ruthlessness if he was to be an effective NHL player.
Ted's reputation as a vicious player is well-known, however, his speed and offensive abilities are what made him the legend he is today.
He still has a locker at Joe Louis Arena and will even take to the ice now and again.
Today's Red Wings give him a wide berth when he does, partly out of respect, but mostly out of fear.
Before there was Patrick Kane, there was Denis Savard, who was the highest drafted player in Chicago Blackhawks history (third overall), before Kane became Chicago's first, first-overall draftee.
Savard used his hockey IQ, speed and agility better than most of his contemporaries and would likely still be tops in those categories in today's game.
His famous 'Spin-O-Rama' move would still beat most defender's today and made Savard a fixture on NHL highlight reels; a status he'd be sure to maintain if he was suiting up for the 'Hawks today.
Ken Dryden played just seven season in the NHL, all with the Montreal Canadiens.
Not many players are remembered after such a short career, let alone become legends, but that's exactly what Ken Dryden has become.
At 6' 4", Dryden was freakishly huge for a goalie playing in the 1970's NHL, however, that size along with his supreme intelligence helped make Dryden one the most consistently unbeatable goalies to ever play the game.
Dryden played in just 379 games during his career - he won 258 of them.
Along with 46 shutouts, and a career 2.23 GAA, Dryden arguably had the best single career in NHL goalie history.
With today's affinity for big men in net, Dryden would fit right in today's game and probably still dominate it.
Huge (6' 4", 223 lbs.), fast, and seemingly everywhere all the time, Larry Robinson is the kind of defenseman every GM in the league today would give their teeth for.
Robinson's skating ability and scoring prowess were among the best ever for a defenseman and those assets, along with his leadership abilities, helped bring the Canadiens six Stanley Cups during his tenure.
Like his teammate, the aforementioned Ken Dryden, Robinson would easily be in the Norris Trophy conversation if he were playing in the NHL this season.
A lot of GM's and league officials say that today's goalies really need to be protected.
That attitude has resulted in several rules and officiating practices being put in place with a goalie's safety in mind.
Too bad more goalies aren't like Ron Hextall; he never needed rules in place to protect him.
Arguably the most aggressive and combative goalie in NHL history, the crease was Hextall's and his alone. If you forgot that during a game, his stick or fist would quickly remind you.
Hextall owns the league record for most penalty minutes by a goalie (113) and was also the first net-minder in NHL history to pot a goal.
Hextall's solid play and puck-handling ability would make him a valuable asset to any team in today's NHL. His temper would also make him one of the most feared opponents at any position.
How fun would it be to have a guy like Denis Potvin in the league right now?
Not only was he billed as the "next Bobby Orr" when he was drafted in 1973, he said he was better than the Boston Bruins legend three years latter when discussing his play compared to Orr's in the 1976 Canada Cup.
What a Twitter-stir that would have caused had social networking existed back then!
Aside from Potivn's, ahem, confidence, he was legitimately one of the very best defensemen of all time.
He remains one of the very few rearguards to ever net 30 goals in a single season and his smooth skating style and physical play made him one of the more complete players to ever play the position.
His potential Tweets not withstanding, Potvin would be an outstanding NHLer were he playing today.
Few people will remember that Cam Neely began his career as a Vancouver Canuck, because he has come to embody what it means to be a Boston Bruin.
As electrifying a player as current Bruin Milan Lucic is, he is simply following along in the skate tracks of greatness.
Aggressive, physical, and offensively gifted, the term "power forward" was largely reserved for basketball players before Neely came into the picture.
He was just as willing and able to score goals as he was to engage in fisticuffs with the opposition, and though he eventually opted to do more of the former and less of the latter, Neely will always be remembered for being great at both.
A 50 goal-scorer that fights like a demon? Yeah, we'll take that all day long in today's NHL.
Though Phil Esposito would more often than not be left in the snow in an on-ice foot race, his absolute immobility and Blood Hound-like nose for the net would still get him a job in the "new NHL."
Espo played for the Blackhawks, Bruins, and Rangers throughout his career and eclipsed the 60-goal mark three times while with the Bruins.
Esposito scored because he simply did what is necessary to do so more than anyone else—shoot.
In the 1970-71 season, Espo finished with a mind-boggling 550 shots on goal which lead to his then NHL record 76 goals that year.
There are precious few players in NHL history that were as pure a goal-scorer as was Phil Esposito.
For 21 seasons, any time you said "Boston Bruins," you might have well been saying the name "Ray Bourque".
Few, if any, other players in NHL history have meant as much to their team than Bourque did to the Bruins.
Blessed with off-the-charts hockey intelligence and superb offensive abilities, Ray Bourque could prevent goals just as easily as he could score them.
As far as consistent perfection goes, there are perhaps only two or three other blue-liners in NHL history that could give Ray Bourque a run for his money.
In today's game, Bourque would find himself in great demand and could easily pit several teams against each other in a bidding war to secure his services.
However, given the class and character Bourque exhibited throughout his entire career, we'd never see that happen.
Ask any coach on any team if he'd prefer a technically excellent goalie or a never-say-die warrior in net and you'll find it's always the latter.
Terry Sawchuck may be small and technically antiquated compared to today's goal-keepers, but one look at his face reveals he'd sooner cut his own throat than give up on a play.
In fact, his throat may be the only area above his shoulders that didn't gush with blood at some point during his career.
Paul Coffey's lightning quick speed and offensive genius made him one of the best defenders of his generation.
When a player today reaches the 100+ point mark, he's usually in the running for the Art Ross trophy and those who are are invariably a forward.
Paul Coffey posted a staggering 121 points in the 1984-85 season, arriving firmly in Bobby Orr territory. He went on to even greater things that year in the playoffs as he finished with 37 points, a standing record for defenseman that honestly, might never be broken.
As he remains the second-highest scoring blue-liner in NHL history, imagining Coffey light the lamp today as consistently as he did in the 80's is an easy task.
No one scored more goals per-game during their career than Mike Bossy; not Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux or Gordie Howe.
The life-long Islanders sniper played in 752 games during his career and amassed 573 goals, for the mathematically challenged, that's a .762 goals-per-game average.
Like Alex Ovechkin and Steven Stamkos today, Bossy could seemingly score from anywhere and in a variety of ways.
While he was no fan of the rough-stuff on the ice, Bossy's laser of a shot and hockey IQ would make him a bona fide superstar in today's game.
Call him "The Flower," call him "Le Demon Blond;" by any name, Guy Lafleur was simply one of the best hockey players to ever grace the NHL.
Lafleur didn't so much skate as he floated around the ice.
With the foot grace of a dancer and the hands of a surgeon, Guy Lafleur dominated the game through most of the 1970's.
His career 1.20 points-per-game average serves as a testament to just how consistently amazing Lafleur was, and his status as the Canadiens all-time leading scorer is even more impressive considering the number of all-time greats who played for "Le Bleu, Blanc et Rouge".
As today's game rewards those players with speed and skill, Lafleur would surely challenge for the Art Ross and Hart Trophies were he playing now.
Norm Ullman retired from the NHL in 1974.
The Frank J. Selke Trophy given to the league's best defensive forward was first awarded in 1977.
Had the year's lined up differently, we might very well be referring to that trophy as the "Ullman" today.
Norm Ullman virtually invented the concept of a "two-way forward". A tireless skater, vicious fore-checker, and an amazingly consistent scorer (he had 11-straight 20+ goal seasons while with the Red Wings), Norm Ullman is the type of player GMs drool over today.
Detroit currently boasts two of the best two-way players in the game in Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg.
Were Ullman suiting up for the Wings today, there's little doubt they'd have three.
Like the aforementioned Ullman, Red Kelly also defined a now vital position in the NHL—that of the offensive-defenseman.
A vigorous (but clean) checker, superb skater and possessor of excellent on-ice vision, Red Kelly did a little bit of everything for the teams he played for, and there's little doubt he'd be able to do the same today.
Indeed, as a member of the Red Wings, the team saw four Stanley Cup Championships, and when he left to join the Toronto Maple Leafs, he brought the Cup to TO another four times; the only player in NHL history to accomplish such a feat.
If any player on this list truly deserves to be transported magically to today's NHL, it's Mike Gartner.
Despite being the fastest recorded NHL player ever, a 700-goal scorer, and owning the league record for most consecutive 30-goal seasons with 17, Mike Gartner has not one piece of NHL hardware on his mantle.
The highest-scoring player to never win a Stanley Cup, Gartner's speed and scoring ability would almost certainly make any team today a Cup-contender.
Had Gartner not played smack-dab in the middle of the "Gretzky-era," his trophy collection and legend would almost assuredly be greater than it is.
Sadly, they just don't make players like Mark Messier anymore.
Not only was he tough as nails, he could skate, he could pass and he could score.
He could also put the fear of God into teammates in the locker room if he felt they weren't giving the best effort they could.
This kind of iconic, mythical leader doesn't really exist in the NHL right now, and that's a shame because they make their teams and the game itself that much better.
Expect to see a few more of these types of players as we move on.
Man, talk about players you'd love to have a Twitter account.
Bobby Hull's larger-than-life personality was eclipsed only by his playing ability.
Known as the "Golden Jet", Hull did indeed resemble a fighter jet.
He was unbelievably fast, agile and tough, but also possessed superior fire-power the likes of which we may never see again.
Although the NHL All Star Super Skills competition is now the official determinant of which player has the hardest shot on record (as of a few days ago, it's Boston's Zdeno Chara with a 105.9 MPH slapper), Hull's shot was once tracked by a speed gun as exceeding 118 MPH.
Though his slap shot was his big bomb, his wrist shot was an equally lethal weapon that destroyed the opposition.
There's not a player in the NHL today that can boast the sheer power Bobby Hull did in his prime.
Today, most hockey fans who know his name regard Maurice Richard as an outstanding offensive player, and he was.
He was the first player to ever reach the 50-goal plateau and the first NHL player to record 500 career goals.
"The Rocket" was indeed a world-class offensive player; he was also a tough son-of-a-gun.
His shifty, stick-handling style meant that he received his fair share of elbows and slashes from opposing defensemen, and while many skilled players today rely on a teammate to right these wrongs for them, Richard had no problem dropping his gloves and using his own fists to settle the score.
Jarome Iginla of the Calgary Flames may be this generation's closest thing to "The Rocket," however, even he would tell you he's not nearly on par with the man.
You see that picture? I have the exact same one hanging in my office, signed by the man himself.
It is a daily reminder to me that greatness is really and truly possible if you're willing to work hard enough to attain it.
We just saw Mark Messier a couple of slides ago, and if you want to call him the greatest captain ever, I can understand your point.
However, to my mind, "The Captain" was, is and always will be Steven Gregory Yzerman.
He was a man who would do anything his team needed him to do to win and made every player around him better, on and off the ice.
There is no comparable player in the NHL now and if we all live another 100 years, I'd doubt we'd see one again.
I have a Finnish friend who live in Helskinki and I once asked him who he and his compatriots regard as their national hockey hero.
Though he hasn't played in the NHL in 13 years and hasn't been a top-tier superstar for almost 20, Jari Kurri is still the Finnish people's favorite hockey-hero. Well, at least according to Matti.
Kurri is largely considered one of the best two-way players to ever play the game and the offensive magic he made with line-mate Wayne Gretzky is the stuff of legend.
Putting Kurri in his prime in today's game would mean instant success for the Oilers. Man, wouldn't they like to have him now?
Really, could you have a guy like Jari Kurri on this list and not have The Great One follow immediately after?
On the face of it, having Wayne Gretzky on a list of players we'd like to see in the new NHL may be considered a no-brainer.
However, Gretz wasn't the greatest of skaters, was hardly a physical force, and played in an era where goalies and defenders weren't half as mobile as they are now.
A case could be made, and even convincingly so, that Wayne Gretzky is a player that could not excel in today's game.
While I might agree that he would probably not score as much now as he did then, Gretzky's hockey IQ would still make him one of the most dangerous players in the NHL today.
Gretzky's mind for the game is unparalleled and watching him play revealed he didn't so much read the play, but psychically predicted it and reacted accordingly.
Wayne Gretzky knew what his opponents were going to do before they did, and that more than anything, is why he'd still be The Great One in today's game.
In case you missed it, we passed the sign that read "Entering the Realm of Hockey Giants" about six slides ago.
So, you can probably predict how the rest of this piece is going to shake out.
If you were to map the entirety of today's NHL game, at least, what the game is supposed to be, you'd have just about a perfect match with the game of Gordie Howe.
Fast, tough, and offensively oriented described Mr. Hockey's approach to playing the game he's loved for so long.
The end of the 2004-05 lockout ushered in what we now call the "New NHL".
Mr. Howe was playing that kind of game 50 years prior, there's little doubt he'd fit right in now.
We started this whole thing by talking about a great player forced out of the game by health problems who is trying to come back to the game he loves.
We're going to finish the conversation with two players that no opponent could adequately stop, save that opponent that was their own health.
Mario Lemieux battled Hodgkin's lymphoma, herniated disks, debilitating back pain and chronic tendinitis throughout his career and left the game not once, but twice because of these issues.
He also came back twice and, in so doing, remains perhaps the most inspirational sports figure of the last 20 years.
Lemieux actually played and played well in the new NHL before his final retirement in 2006, but he was long past his physical peak.
Inserting a 1988-version of Mario Lemieux into the 2011 Pittsburgh Penguins line-up might be criminal, as they'd simply rob every other NHL team blind. Regardless, there's no question that "Le Magnifique" would be just as deserving of that moniker today as he was back then.
His career spanned only 12 seasons, but his legend will live on forever.
Eventually forced to retire due to a debilitated and utterly destroyed left knee, had Orr's health held out longer, it's hard to imagine his stature in the game could have grown any larger than it did.
Bobby Orr didn't so much play hockey as he orchestrated it.
His play determined not only what his own teammates would do, but how his opponents played as well.
Watching Orr play, one got the sense that hockey was a game that he invented and perfected and that everyone else was simply trying to learn as they went.
Like Jimi Hendrix or Beethoven, Bobby Orr was an artist the likes of which we'll never see again—a once in a millennium talent everyone will simply marvel at for eternity.
There's virtually no chance that a defenseman will ever win an Art Ross Trophy again.
However, were we able to transport Bobby into today's game, he'd likely give Steven Stamkos and Sidney Crosby a run for their money.