January 30, 2009
Colorado Avalanche fans have been kicked in the nuts so many times this season that the high notes in Mariah Carey songs are suddenly in range. Hear the team claim a commitment to winning, and then do almost nothing in the summer to prove it. Have hero Joe Sakic return for another run, only to have his season derailed by a demonic snow-blower. Budaj, Raycroft, Buduj, Raycroft.
Naturally, the news that Peter Forsberg won't seek a return to the NHL this season comes after a contentious, frustrating 7-4 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs. Forsberg, who battled through injuries to score 14 points in nine games during 2007-08 and then five in seven during the playoffs with the Avs, announced on Swedish television that "there won't be any NHL this season, that's totally clear"; Forsberg said if he plays at all, it'll be for his hometown team Modo.
The 35-year-old has signed with his old Swedish club, Modo, for the rest of the season. Bothered by foot problems the past few years, he had been toying once more with a late comeback in North America. "It feels like a good decision," Forsberg told the Swddish (sic, and funny) media. "Time ran out. I am still not 100%. But my foot feels better than when I returned to Avalanche last winter.
"I considered returning to the Avalanche, but they are struggling (losing six of their past seven) and I didn't want to take any space under the salary cap. I didn't want to return to the Flyers after all my foot problems the last time I was there."
If that's an admission that the Philadelphia Flyers came calling for his services ... well, why not commit more salary at center while ignoring your blue line, right?
But more to the point, these words will likely haunt Colorado fans for some time: "I considered returning to the Avalanche, but they are struggling." In other words, Foppa felt healthier than he did last year, saw a 23-25-1 record and 47 points in the Western Conference, and decided "make mine Modo!" That has to sting.
Forsberg claims he's continuing his hockey career, which could mean another shot at the NHL next season. If on-ice success is now a primary motivator, the Forsberg Derby will be interesting for sure. Until he inevitably ends it prematurely with another injury, of course.