DENVER – Former NHL MVP Peter Forsberg will practise with the Colorado Avalanche to see if he is in shape for a possible return to the team.
The Avalanche said Friday the 37-year-old Forsberg will join the squad during a morning skate Saturday before an afternoon game against the Boston Bruins. He will talk about his intentions after the workout.
Forsberg won two Stanley Cup titles with Colorado and was the league’s MVP in 2003. He has played sporadically in recent years because of a troublesome right foot.
Jean Martineau, a senior vice-president for the team, said Forsberg’s agent, Don Baizley, reached out to general manager Greg Sherman, asking if Forsberg could test his foot and overall conditioning against NHL-calibre players.
The Avs readily agreed.
“Obviously, knowing our bond and the great history with Peter and the organization, we want to help him find out where he’s at,” Martineau said.
The Swedish star’s last appearance in the NHL was with the Avalanche during the 2007-08 season. He had one goal and 13 assists in nine games. He was hampered that season by a groin injury.
“I need to see where I am physically and practising with NHL players is the best way to find that out,” Forsberg said in a release.
The bruising but skilful forward returned to the Mile High City last September as part of a celebration to mark the 15th anniversary of Colorado’s 1996 Stanley Cup championship.
He said back then he wasn’t completely ruling out a comeback, but was at peace with whatever the future held.
Forsberg remains a fan favourite in Denver, his No. 21 sweater still one of the most spotted in the Pepsi Center crowd.
Part of that may be the intensity he brought to the game, something the fans haven’t forgotten. Forsberg had his spleen removed during the Avalanche’s run to the Stanley Cup in 2001.
He spent nine seasons with the Avalanche before heading to Philadelphia following the NHL lockout in 2004-05. He wore a Flyers sweater for 1 1/2 seasons before being dealt to Nashville.
Forsberg returned to Denver late in 2007-08, but was limited in the regular season because of a nagging groin injury.
But it’s his foot that’s given him the most trouble, robbing him of ice time and chunks of his career. He was with the Swedish team Modo last season, but played only 23 games due to his chronic foot ailment.
In an interview last September, Forsberg said if he had any qualms with his career, it was that he couldn’t get his surgically repaired foot quite right.
“Of course, I’m sour that if (retirement) happens, I didn’t get to quit on my own terms,” said Forsberg, who’s guided the Swedish national team to gold in the Olympics and world championships. “But I can’t go around thinking I had a bad life. It’s been a good hockey life for me anyway.”
And it might not be over just yet.