In another blow to the Colorado Avalanche, Peter Forsberg announced his retirement from the NHL today. He played only two games with the Colorado Avalanche in his latest attempt at a comeback.
Forsberg played well in the two games he played with the Avalanche. In Nashville, he had 17:32 of ice time and had two shots on goal. He also took two penalties and was minus-two.
In Columbus he had 17:38 of ice time with one shot on goal. He was minus-two in this game as well.
Before signing on with the Avalanche last week, Forsberg was very clear that he didn't know how things would turn out. He said that he didn't know how good he was going to be, but that he wanted to give it a shot. After two games, Forsberg seems to have decided that he is not up to a level of play that would help his team.
Regardless of the fact that Forsberg failed to return to the level of play he wanted, it is important to note the impact that he had on the game.
For a long time, Forsberg was considered the best player in the NHL, and arguably the world. His unbelievable combination of size, finesse and physical play was something that had only really been seen from the likes of Mario Lemieux. Forsberg was often more dangerous as a hitter when he had the puck.
His vision of the game was, and is, unparalleled. Watching Peter Forsberg play, there were always moments in games where you would watch him make a play and just shake your head really fast in that "did that really just happen" manner.
One could easily argue that Forsberg might be the best passer that has ever played in the NHL. I doubt that people like Joe Sakic, Milan Hejduk, Claude Lemieux or anybody else who was lucky enough to play on a line with Forsberg would say otherwise.
His career stats show how consistent he always was, even when he was fighting off nagging injuries. In 708 games, he has 885 points—249 goals and 636 assists. That boils down to 1.25 points per game.
Another thing that can't be overlooked is that he is plus-238 for his career. Forsberg never really got credit for his defensive abilities, but that plus-minus ratio helps show his versatility. I find it very interesting that he never won a Selke Trophy.
His postseason numbers were just as impressive. In 151 postseason games, Forsberg had 171 points—64 goals and 107 assists. He just couldn't be stopped.
His awards were many. Two gold medals, two Stanley Cups, the Art Ross Trophy (league's top scorer), the Hart Memorial Trophy (league MVP), the Calder Memorial Trophy (rookie of the year) and the Bud Light Plus-Minus award in 2003. In addition to these honors, Forsberg was a seven-time All-Star and a three-time First Team All-Star.
My hope is that the NHL will not hold his injuries against him when looking to induct him into the Hall of Fame. His value and ability as a player are unquestioned. The only question that should be asked about his numbers is, "Can you imagine how scary these numbers would be if he had never been injured?" Yet the injuries that cut short his brilliant career may keep him out. To me, that would be tragic.
Nonetheless, Peter Forsberg is a remarkable man and a fantastic player. His career was tragically short but immensely wonderful in what he managed to accomplish. His love for the game is unquestioned, and he is adored and respected by hockey fans around the world. He knows where he stands now and is saying a final farewell.
So from me and hockey fans everywhere, thanks for the amazing memories, Foppa. You will never be forgotten.