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Forsberg skates with Avs, status on hold until immigration issues cleared

The Hockey News

The Hockey News

PHOENIX - Peter Forsberg pulled off his glove and threw it in the air, then cocked his stick back like he was shooting a skeet target, a mock celebration for giving his pickup team the win with a deftly placed shot.

A day after officially rejoining the NHL after a three-year hiatus, Forsberg was clearly enjoying himself.

Next comes the true test: Forsberg's first game.

The former league MVP isn't sure when that'll be—he has some immigration issues to clear up first—but he knows the butterflies will be flying with the puck once it gets here.

"I'm nervous how it's going to go," Forsberg said Monday. "I'm not really sure if I'm going to be good or bad. I'm going to be very nervous for the first game, so I wish it could come right away."

He'll have to wait a little bit longer.

Forsberg joined the Avalanche for their morning skate before Monday night's game against Phoenix after signing a US$1-million deal to play the rest of the season with the team he helped lead to two Stanley Cup titles. The 37-year-old said he's feeling healthy and looked good during the practice, even sticking around an extra 45 minutes or so to join his teammates and Colorado coaches for a few games of shinny.

Forsberg wasn't expected to play against the Coyotes since he'll have to leave the United States and re-enter to clear up his immigration issues. He's been practising with the Avalanche for two weeks in hopes of a return to the NHL, but couldn't get the paperwork going for his work visa until he signed a contract to work in the U.S.

"You know, I really don't know what's going to happen," he said. "I know I have to do it. I know they're working on it and hopefully will get it done as soon as possible. I don't know the specifics."

Forsberg was arguably the best two-way player in the NHL during his heyday, leading the Avalanche to Stanley Cup titles in 1996 and 2001, and earning both the Hart Trophy and league MVP in 2003.

Forsberg started having problems with his right foot over the next few years and ended up going back to his native Sweden after appearing in nine regular-season games and seven post-season games in 2007-08. Forsberg played for his hometown club MoDo the past couple years and his foot held up enough that he decided to give the NHL another shot.

The Avalanche are hoping Forsberg will be able to play on their current road trip, which takes them to Minnesota to face the Wild on Wednesday.

"There are some logistics that need to be taken care of and after he's taken care of that, it'll be Peter and my decision when we want to get him back in there," Colorado coach Joe Sacco said. "I think once we clear it up, he'll be available, he'll play."

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