DENVER – Peter Forsberg skated with long, effortless strides from blue-line to blue-line before firing off a laser wrist shot during practice Monday, his first workout with the Colorado Avalanche since re-signing last week.
He looked like the Forsberg of old, but when asked about playing Tuesday against Northwest Division-rival Vancouver, he hedged.
“It’s a game-time decision. We’ll see tomorrow morning,” he said. “To be honest, the foot felt like it was pulling and this was the first day of practice today.”
Forsberg is nursing an injured right foot but surprised nearly everyone last week by signing a deal to return to Colorado, where he won two Stanley Cups and one MVP award in nine seasons.
The 34-year-old agreed to a US$5-million, one-year deal but will be paid about $1.1 million on a prorated basis because only six weeks remained in the regular season when he agreed.
Forsberg said he would decide after Tuesday morning’s skate whether he will play that night.
“It’s going to be tough to sit out, but I have to realize I haven’t played a game in eight months and I just had the one practice,” he said.
Forsberg practised on a line that included Joe Sakic and Milan Hejduk.
Colorado coach Joel Quenneville said he agreed with Forsberg’s timing but still held out hope.
“There is a chance he could play tomorrow,” Quenneville said. “It’s going to come from Peter because he knows his body a little better than us.”
Adding to the pressure is that the low-scoring Avalanche are without forwards Marek Svatos and Ryan Smyth, who were injured in Saturday’s 5-2 victory over the Los Angeles Kings.
“Even though those two guys went down the last game, I have to be honest with myself that when I come back I have to be ready to come back and play 100 per cent,” Forsberg said. “I’m not going out to play not doing what I want to do.”
Forsberg said he would not suit up only to play on the power play.
Smyth lost consciousness after being elbowed into the glass by the Kings’ Jack Johnson. Earlier in the game, Svatos injured a knee when he hit the boards.
Quenneville had little to report on the two players Monday.