September 29, 2009
Peter Forsberg(notes) is the kind of professional athlete that triggers what can only be called "sports fan muscle memory." It's a combination of nostalgia, optimism and ultimately delusion that, like love and copious amounts of adult beverages, makes smart people completely irrational.
(It's also the reason why, for example, Jake Delhomme is still inexplicably owned by five percent of fantasy football teams on Yahoo!.)
There are tantalizing reasons why we're always doing this dance with Foppa. His last stint with the Colorado Avalanche saw him score 14 points in nine regular season games before scoring five in seven during the postseason.
That was two years ago, as Forsberg's injuries kept him out of the NHL last season. He's attempting a comeback (again), earning some raves for the way he's played for Modo in the Swedish League. But Adrian Dater of the Denver Post reports that Forsberg is injured (again), although it's a stress fracture in his fragile foot and not something more chronic:
"I can hardly walk, but it feels OK when I skate," Forsberg said. "I'm going to let this stress fracture heal, but I am not sure that I am ready for the NHL yet. We will see. I will make a decision the next couple of weeks."
In true Forsberg fashion, he scored a goal playing with the stress fracture on Monday.
If you're an NHL fan outside of Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Detroit, San Jose and Dallas, you could probably use an upgrade at second-line center. "Sports fan muscle memory" recalls the Forsberg/Sakic one-two punch as championship caliber, so why not Forsberg/your top-line guy, right?
Some bloggers and journalists are taking a number for their teams in the Forsberg Derby.
Assuming Forsberg is, in fact, ready to play an entire season, the Preds could expect 60 games out of the 36-year old and, quite frankly, 60 games is enough to generate 65-70 points, strike fear in the heart of goalies every time he touches the puck and even force opposing coaches to gameplan specifically against him. Bottom line: he'd warrant a lot of attention and that's a good thing.
It was no secret that Forsberg loved Nashville. He enjoyed being able to go out to dinner and not be bothered by fans or by cameras. He loved his teammates and really wanted to put his best foot forward while in Music City. Unfortunately, at this point in his career, he wants to go to a contender and Nashville doesn't exactly fall into the classification of "contender."
Foppa, as they called him, had feet that became the stuff of daily digests, becoming one huge distraction in a developing locker room.
That didn't stop Holmgren, a fan of Forsberg since his teen years playing for ... um, Modo ... from being interested the two or three times in recent years that he tried to come back again. Now, there's salary cap room and room for roster growth. So don't be surprised to hear his name come up again soon.
The most interesting twist in the Forsberg situation was provided by the man himself, when he mentioned the Washington Capitals as a desired destination. Doesn't mean there's a love connection here, as the Capitals have Nicklas Backstrom(notes) as their undisputed No. 1 center and signed Brendan Morrison(notes) for the second unit. We tend to agree with Spector on this one: With limited cap room, one would expect the Caps to upgrade in other areas rather than bring in Forsberg. (BTW: Rumors chat returns on Wednesday at 1 p.m. EST.)
The speculation game with Forsberg is a fruitful distraction from reality, which is that as good as the guy looks in a few Swedish League games he's still, as Parent called him, "the world's only 36-year-old with 96-year-old feet." That doesn't mean he won't find another NHL job ... but it does mean his health will remain as random and inconsistent as the rumors flying around him now.
Rumors that, we're sure, make more than a few folks sympathize with Andy Strickland of HockeyBuzz.