Overshadowed by another legendary retirement in pro sports by Ronaldo, Peter Forsberg of the Colorado Avalanche is prepared to announce his official retirement from hockey today.
Forsberg, a two time Stanley Cup champion with the Avs attempted a comeback, signing a deal for the rest of the season just a few short days ago. But after two games, it became clear; he could no longer play at the elite level.
It’s a sad thing to see. Arguably one of the most talented players, Forsberg has been plagued by injuries. From his foot problems, to a ruptured spleen that ended his playoffs in 2001 (Avs went on to win the cup anyway) Peter Forsberg has had it rough. He missed the entire 2001-02 season, but came back in the playoffs to score 27 points in 20 games, a truly impressive feat.
Typically, a break off point for forwards for the HOF is about 1,000 career points. Forsberg, in just 708 games, had 249 goals and 636 assists for 885 points in his career. Has he been able to fend off the injuries, he surely would have topped 1,000.
Although +/-, a stat that measures goals that you are on the ice for plus one for an even strength goal for, minus one for being on the ice for an even strength goal against, isn’t typically seen as an important stat, Forsberg’s career +238 is a true reflection of the great player he was.
In 151 career playoff games, he has 171 points and was +54.
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After the lockout he would play for the Philadelphia Flyers for a season and a half, followed by a short stint with the Nashville Predators following a trade deadline move.
The following season, he would be a Free Agent until late February, due to more health issues. But the Avs would sign him, hoping to make a playoff push. He would only play nine games that season, missing time due to a chronic groin issue. He would also only play in one game of the second round in the playoffs, a four game sweep against the rival Detroit Red Wings.
The following couple of season would be spent in his native Sweden, where injuries again plagued him. In the two seasons there, he would play in only 26 games. Rumors constantly swept around the hockey world about a possible comeback, but it never seemed to come.
Finally, after not playing a game in Sweden this year, Forsberg was reported to be working out with the Avalanche. Soon after, he would sign a one year deal, to play out the rest of the year with Colorado. He was able to play two games, both on the road, but the man who had never had a minus season in the +/- department, went a minus four in two games. The real Peter Forsberg was not there.
Now, before making his home debut, Forsberg has decided to call it quits. The saga of comebacks and rumors that is the hockey version of Brett Favre has finally come to an end.
As a fan, I will not remember Forsberg for the circus that was his late career. For me, Forsberg will be remembered as a great player, a standout in an era that saw a plethora of great players around the league. Peter Forsberg, in five years time, will be up on the stage in Toronto at the Hockey Hall of Fame, at his induction ceremony.