Peter Forsberg: The Brett Favre of Hockey?

TJ LuckmanCorrespondent IFebruary 14, 2011

COLUMBUS, OH - FEBRUARY 11:  Peter Forsberg #21 of the Colorado Avalanche skates with the puck during a game against the Columbus Blue Jackets on February 11, 2011 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images)
John Grieshop/Getty Images

Peter Forsberg’s latest attempt at a comeback is really an unknown anomaly.  Who knows if he’d stuck around longer if he would have gotten enough momentum to be a better player?  Perhaps we weren’t meant to know. 

However, should we consider Forsberg’s many comeback attempts to be that of Brett Favre’s in the NFL? 

Not so fast.

There is one key difference between Forsberg and Favre that until today, was overlooked:  Forsberg knew when to quit. 

Where Favre’s constant “Will He or Won’t He” story has continued for the past five years, Forsberg’s story is far different than Favre’s in that he knew when he couldn’t do it.  Favre’s persistence to keep on coming back over the years annoyed many fans, causing him to lose favor across the entire NFL, including his own original fan base. 

While Favre was the NFL’s ironman, Forsberg was not the NHL equal.  Only completing one full 82-game season in his entire career, Forsberg played 650 games across 11 full NHL seasons, which is only 72 percent of the 902 games he could have played. 

Forsberg has always been a class act and is looked at as a generational player.  A one-time Hart Memorial Trophy and two Stanley Cup rings certainly added to his reputation as a generational player.  What cooled off his great NHL career were the injuries he suffered throughout it. 

Yes, we can all look at Brett Favre admirably and say that he played injured half the time.  We can see this as a knock against Forsberg’s toughness for not playing through these injuries.  However, one can look at the 82-game schedule of the NHL and the 16-game schedule of the NFL and say that these are two entirely different season by two players who played two completely different positions in two completely different sports. 

Finally, when you look at the two situations, one difference can be picked out right away.  Brett Favre never admitted defeat, which in a young athlete’s career, is a positive trait.  However, when someone can’t admit defeat when that person clearly looks, and is defeated, something has to give, especially when that player tarnishes his career because he can’t walk away. 

Forsberg gave in after he absolutely knew he couldn’t do it, and most of us couldn’t be any prouder of the Hall of Fame career that he presented to us regardless of this admission.