Canucks-Avalanche: Peter Forsberg Should Be Wary of Vancouver
It didn't take long for a Canucks hater like me to pen yet another article.
The best part about the Vancouver Canucks' latest loss was that it came against the Colorado Avalanche.
The Canucks fell 6-2 to the Avalanche at G.M. Place, as Marek Svatos and Milan Hejduk each scored twice for Colorado. Wojtek Wolski had three assists.
The Avalanche, who have been injury-ridden with top guns Joe Sakic and Ryan Smyth out of the lineup since December, and leading scorer Paul Stastny out since mid-January, weren't expected to be in playoff contention.
However, Colorado is now 5-3-2 in its last 10 games.
The fact that Colorado has continued to win has been remarkable, considering the fact that Sakic (617 goals) and Smyth (281), who have combined for more than 2,200 points in their careers, have not suited up for extended amounts of time.
Stastny, who originally was expected to have returned to the lineup after missing the previous nine games, sat out once again against Vancouver.
And yet the Avalanche stuck it to the slumping Canucks, and are only one point behind the Northwest Division-leading Minnesota Wild for the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference.
By virtue of its first-place standing in the Northwest, Minnesota is ranked third in the conference standings. The Wild (31-20-4) have 66 points, one more than Colorado (30-21-5) and two ahead of Calgary (28-20-8), who beat provincial rival Edmonton 4-1, Saturday night.
Whoever finishes the season at the top of the Northwest is assured of one of the top three spots in the Western Conference.
So why is this latest loss by the Canucks so sweet?
Two words: Peter Forsberg.
Hopefully the unrestricted free agent, who according to media reports is interested in making a return to the NHL this season, was watching this game.
Forsberg, of course, played for the Avalanche from 1995 to 2004.
For months, the Vancouver media has thought of the Canucks as one of the front-runners in the Forsberg sweepstakes because the two-time Stanley Cup champion is buddies with Canucks captain and fellow Swede Markus Naslund.
If Forsberg were to join the Canucks, he would be reunited with Naslund and other Swedes Daniel Sedin, Henrik Sedin, and Mattias Ohlund.
Hopefully, this latest debacle by the Canucks will squash those talks for good.
Vancouver, who is 2-5-3 in its last 10 and in ninth place in the conference, has only one regulation victory in over a month.
Why would Forsberg, who would be looking to win another Stanley Cup, be interested in signing with a horrendous team like Vancouver, even if he was remotely inclined before?
If Forsberg were to make a comeback, it would most likely be with one of his former teams, the Avalanche or the Philadelphia Flyers, for whom he played for three seasons.
Both the Avalanche and Flyers are playoff contenders this season.
Despite the Flyers' 2-0 home loss to the New York Rangers earlier on Saturday afternoon, they are in contention in the Eastern Conference. Philadelphia, who finished dead last in the NHL last season, is currently sixth in the East, though it actually was as high as second earlier this week.
The Flyers, with a solid 30-19-5 record, trail Pittsburgh (67 points) and New Jersey (66 points) for top spot in the Atlantic division. The Flyers have 65 points.
Ottawa, leading the Northwest division with 72 points, is No. 1 in the East. Carolina, who is first in the Southeast despite having the same record as Atlanta (27-27-4), only has 58 points.
Since division leaders automatically get the top three seeds in the conference, the Flyers have a shot at the No. 2 seed in the East.
Getting back to the Canucks, it was another beauty to watch, for a Canucks hater that is.
Early on, they gave me a scare when they came out buzzing in the Colorado zone around goaltender Jose Theodore.
And yet it was the Avalanche getting three goals in the first period, out-shooting the home team 13-5.
During the first-period intermission, one of the analysts on the Canucks' radio broadcast stated that the Avalanche played with a lot of determination, which was something the home team lacked.
By the start of the third period, the Canucks' $6 million-man Roberto Luongo, was gone after surrendering five goals on 22 shots.
The Canucks out-shot the visitors 11-2 in the third period, but by that time, the game was long over.
Yes, Canucks apologists have said during their team's recent slide, they need more scoring. They need a proven veteran like Forsberg or Sundin to help get them over the hump.
Unless the Canucks scored seven goals on Saturday, they weren't going to win, the way Luongo performed.
And the loss tonight kept Vancouver in ninth place, which is perfect.
If the Canucks finish in ninth, that means they'll miss the playoffs. And it will also mean they don't get one of the top picks in the NHL Draft.
So where will Peter Forsberg wind up this year?
But definitely not Vancouver.
Who knows? Maybe when the Avalanche make a return trip to Vancouver on February 27, Forsberg will be in the lineup for the visitors.
Too bad the Flyers, who routed the Canucks 8-2 on October 10th at G.M. Place, won't play out west again this season.
In the meantime, let's hope those silly Forsberg-to-the-Canucks talks are buried for good.
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