Peter Forsberg has played only 144 NHL games since the lockout. (Photo by Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images)
The end of Peter Forsberg’s career is starting to put me in mind of one of those Saturday Night Live sketches that get slotted at the back of the 90-minute show. You know the ones; they’re not funny, drag on forever and eventually become mildly painful to watch.
Reading about the possibility of another hockey season in which we see Santa Claus before Foppa is becoming an excruciating exercise.
The man who has inspired his own stamp can’t seem to lick this ankle problem that’s plagued him for years.
I certainly respect Forsberg for fighting the good fight. He’s an ultra-competitive person who is clearly having trouble dousing his internal flame. The games he did play this year after joining the Avalanche in March proved he’s still capable of being a dominant hockey player; he put up 13 assists in just nine regular season games.
But somehow that’s less surprising than the fact he dressed for only one of the four games it took Detroit to dismiss Forsberg’s Avs in Round 2. That’s pretty consistent with the pattern of his career the last handful of seasons. Forsberg hasn’t dressed for more than 60 games in one year since the 2002-03 campaign.
His body seems incapable of holding up consistently and, at some point, there’s more value in recognizing that fact than trying to continue a career that already lacks for nothing.
Forsberg has two Cups, two Olympic gold medals (including the ’94 victory borne out of his postage-worthy shootout goal) and Hart and Art Ross Trophies to boot. When he turns 35 on Sunday, he’ll reach a landmark age knowing he has accomplished more than most hockey players would hope to achieve in three careers.
I don’t know exactly what rich, national heroes do in retirement, but I’m guessing it’s pretty fun.
Go find out, Peter. Spend next winter in a place so hot no ice pack could possibly endure.
Your body is begging you.
Ryan Dixon is a writer and copy editor for The Hockey News magazine, the co-author of the book Hockey's Young Guns and a regular contributor to THN.com. His blog normally appears Wednesdays and his column, Top Shelf, appears Fridays.
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