Sunday, February 1, 2009

Forsberg calls it quits for 2008/09 season

Unless you have been living under a rock, or focusing more on the Super Bowl than the NHL this week, you undoubtably know that Peter Forsberg announced that he will not be returning for this season due to his foot.

According to his representative, a return to the Swedish Elite League this season is a possibility, as is a return to the NHL for the 2009/10 season.

When seeing this, I was pretty happy. Nothing has become quite as annoying over the past few years as the constant rumors on Forsberg rage throughout the media and with fans of the Philadelphia Flyers and Colorado Avalanche. Both are teams that Forsberg has played for, and each tried for Forsberg last season.

It's been one heck of a ride for the man known as Foppa. He came into the NHL and won the Calder Trophy with Colorado. He's been a point per game player for every year except his rookie season, and has always had a positive plus/minus rating. He has two Stanley Cups under his belt, as well as two World Championships and two Olympic Gold Medals with the Swedish national team. In the 2002/03 season, he also received the Art Ross trophy and Hart Trophy as the league MVP. Forsberg is also known as one of the best two-way hockey players today.

However, his stellar two-way play has not come without cost. He missed an entire season after having to have his spleen removed. In seven seasons, he has missed over 10% of his teams' games. Lately, this foot injury, which includes an ankle problem, has kept him off the ice.

At this point, it's best for Forsberg to call it quits on his playing career. There isn't much else that he can accomplish, besides the fact that he can come back from an injury and play at a high level. That is not worth his long-term health, especially when he's done everything.

I might catch some flak for this, and rightfully so. Forsberg proved last year when he came back to the Avs that he is still an exciting player. I'd love to see Forsberg play in a game that I was attending.

But, I'd also hate to see Forsberg, in 10 years or so, hardly able to stand because he did more damage to his foot. Then, he might not be able to be a head coach, which I think he can be following his career. Foppa knows how to play the game at both ends. He's one of the best, and played with some of the best. He's positioned very well to start up that ladder when he does call an end to his playing days.

Then, I hope to see a Peter Forsberg coached team. One can only hope they play like their coach- with an intensity and toughness matching no one, with the ability to raise the level of the entire team and great two-way play.