On Thursday, Forsberg returned from a two-day trip to Arizona where a skate company tried to come up with a design to prevent his foot from rolling inside the boot. Forsberg, who has missed five games this season, is listed as probable for Friday night’s game at the New Jersey Devils.
“We worked on it for a couple days,” Forsberg said after practice. “I don’t want to talk about if it’s good or bad. We’re still working on it.”
The problem, a condition called ligament laxity, plagued Forsberg the last two seasons. He underwent corrective surgery in May.
In the meantime, the 2003 NHL MVP is playing below his usual standards.
In 22 games, he has seven goals and a total of 16 points. This time last season, Forsberg had nine goals and 40 points.
Forsberg visited a clinic in Cleveland during Thanksgiving week and thought he was making some progress. But the orthotic device designed there breaks down after a game or two.
“Obviously it’s not 100 per cent, so we have to keep working to find a way to get the foot to fit in the boot,” he said.
The problem seems to affect Forsberg’s balance, a key to his game, which is built around quick stops and starts, and moving in tight quarters.
Forsberg used his old skates in Thursday’s practice and experienced the same trouble.
Coach John Stevens knows Forsberg is considered a perfectionist.
“He didn’t make the progress he had hoped,” Stevens said. “You can see his frustration. At 70 per cent he could still help us. But if he doesn’t feel comfortable, if he feels vulnerable and it becomes a mental thing, that’s all going to come into consideration whether he can play or not.”