Sunday, February 06, 2011

And So It Begins Again: Forsberg signs with Avalanche

by Bob Herpen
Phanatic Hockey Editor

Peter Forsberg is not done yet.

Nearly three years since injuries derailed his first comeback attempt, the formerly-super Swede decided to return to the NHL with the Colorado Avalanche.

The slick center made his second comeback announcement Sunday, following the team's practice in preparation for Monday's game in Phoenix.

The 37-year-old signed a deal for the remainder of the 2010-11 campaign, though no details were released by the team. According to the Denver Post, the contract is worth $1 million but pro-rated for the rest of the season. It is still to be determined when Forsberg will take the ice for his first game, but the Post also reported that Forsberg travelled with the Avs to Arizona.

"We're proud to announce that Peter will be back in an Avalanche sweater," said general manager Greg Sherman. "He will provide additional leadership to our club and he will have an impact with this young team."

Forsberg started practicing with the Avs on January 22 and came to the conclusion that he was healthy enough, after foot ailments made it difficult for him to even skate, to resume his career.

"After testing my abilities with NHL players over the last few weeks, I feel confident that I can play at the NHL level and help this team," Forsberg said. "I wanted to see where I was at physically and I am ready for this new challenge."

Forsberg last played during the tail end 2007-08 campaign, when he posted a lone goal and 13 assists in nine games with Colorado. During that postseason, he helped the Avs top Dallas in the first round before multiple injuries to he and other key personnel resulted in a four-game sweep at the hands of rival Detroit in the Western Semifinals.

He made a splash during his first NHL season, eventually voted was the Rookie of the Year in 1995 with Quebec after posting 50 points in a lockout-shortened schedule, then took home the Hart Trophy as league MVP in 2003, when he also led the league with 106 points.

Forsberg was a key cog in two Stanley Cups with the Avalanche in 1996 and 2001 and was also selected to seven NHL All-Star Games.

After scoring the Gold medal-winning goal for Sweden during the 1994 Olympics, he was immortalized on a postage stamp in his home country. Forsberg was also a member of Sweden's 2006 Gold medal-winning Olympic team and has represented his country four times in the quadrennial tournament.

Philadelphia selected Forsberg with the sixth overall choice in the 1991 NHL Entry Draft but traded him to the Nordiques, along with Chris Simon, Steve Duchesne, Mike Ricci, Kerry Huffman and Ron Hextall in the blockbuster June, 1992 deal that sent Eric Lindros to the Flyers.

He has collected 249 goals and 885 points during his brilliant but oft-injured 12-year career with the Nordiques, Avs, Flyers and Predators, adding 171 points in 151 playoff contests (64 goals, 107 assists).

With Colorado, Forsberg missed 17 games in 1996-97, 33 games in 1999-2000, the remaining two rounds of the 2001 playoffs due to a ruptured spleen, all of the 2001-02 regular season due to multiple issues, then 43 games in 2003-04.

He participated in just 100 of a possible 138 contests in one-plus seasons with the Flyers from 2005-07, then was healthy for a 22-game stretch at the end of 2007 after being dealt to Nashville. At that time, foot and ankle issues derailed his ability to fully participate in practices and games -- the same problems which prevented "Foppa" from playing a whole season in 2008.

Forsberg then returned to his hometown and played sporadically for Modo Hockey Ornskoldsvik, appearing in 26 games from 2008-10.

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