ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – Peter Forsberg felt quite fatigued after a fast-paced workout with the youthful Colorado Avalanche.
His chronically ailing foot, though, may be much more of a hindrance than his conditioning level as he contemplates a comeback.
The Former NHL MVP sat out shifts at practice Wednesday, leaning over on the bench to fiddle with his right skate. Forsberg has played sporadically in recent years because of that troublesome foot.
He said after the more than hour-long workout that if he had to make a decision Wednesday, “it wouldn’t be that positive.”
The Swedish star wouldn’t address specifics about his foot, only saying “it’s what it’s always been.”
“I’ve got to keep on working hard, see how close I can get,” the 37-year-old said.
Forsberg has been practising with the team as he mulls over a possible return. He had his most productive seasons with Colorado, capturing two Stanley Cup titles along with the league’s MVP award in 2003.
He spent the all-star break working on his game, finding local rinks around the area to stay sharp as other members of the Avs took a hiatus.
No amount of work on his own could prepare him for the vigorous workout that awaited, one which included plenty of power-play drills and laps around the rink.
Once practice was over, Forsberg ducked into the dressing room for a few minutes before returning to the ice to work on more drills.
“I haven’t had a real practice in like nine months,” Forsberg said. “It’s pretty quick (out there).”
Forsberg hopes to make a definitive decision on his return “very soon.” But three full workouts with the team hasn’t been enough time to sway his mind toward throwing in the towel on his NHL career or coming back.
“I don’t want to make a stupid decision,” Forsberg said. “I don’t want to come back and not be at the level I want to be at.
“That’s maybe why it’s taking longer than usual. I’ve got to keep working.”
Avalanche coach Joe Sacco didn’t notice any sort of dip in Forsberg’s play, praising his work ethic.
“If you work hard, no matter what kind of shape you’re in, you’re going to get a little tired,” Sacco said. “But he could tell you better where he’s at.
“I thought he worked hard and thought he looked good.”
While all the chatter centred on Forsberg, another Peter was making a return as well—Peter Mueller.
The forward has been out all season with a concussion, but briefly skated before practice. There’s no timetable yet for his return.
“It’s a good sign,” Sacco said.
Fellow forward Ryan O’Reilly also was back at practice. O’Reilly has been sidelined with a shoulder injury since crashing into the boards headfirst on Jan. 14 at Minnesota. Sacco said O’Reilly will be a game-time decision Thursday night when the team hosts the Wild.
This will be the Avalanche’s first game since the all-star break after their contest Tuesday in St. Louis was postponed due to severe weather. The game has been rescheduled for Feb. 22.
The layoff was part of the reason the Avs went through such a lively workout.
“We spent five hours in planes, trains and automobiles yesterday,” said captain Adam Foote, whose team was able to make it back to town despite the bad conditions. “Every guy looked really tired when they got off the plane, kind of looked fatigued.
“Today, we had a hard practice, just to get the cobwebs out.”
As for Forsberg, Foote said his former teammate looked as good as ever.
“He makes the game look so easy,” Foote said. “But only he will know how he feels.
“Until he gets into full contact, no one will know. But he does look good to me. Pete just makes the game look so easy, so smooth. We’ll see.”