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Forsberg won't close door to NHL, but is realistic

Tuesday, 09.14.2010 / 4:35 PM / NHL Insider

By Rick Sadowski  -  NHL.com Correspondent

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Forsberg won't close door to NHL, but is realistic
Even though he understands the chances are slim, Peter Forsberg won't 100 percent say he's done playing in the NHL.
Peter Forsberg hasn't yet given up hope about returning to the NHL, but the Swedish star acknowledges he isn't overly optimistic about the prospect.

"For me, I haven't 100-percent closed the door, but it's pretty close," he said Tuesday during a conference call to discuss the Colorado Avalanche's 1995-96 Stanley Cup championship team reunion next month.

Forsberg is one of 26 players or coaches who have committed to attend the two-day reunion in Denver. The team will be honored in a ceremony before the Avalanche face the Chicago Blackhawks at the Pepsi Center in the 2010-11 regular-season opener Oct. 7.

Two players, Sandis Ozolinsh and Chris Simon, won't be able to attend; they'll be playing in Russia.

A Calder, Art Ross and Hart Trophy winner, Forsberg, now 37, also won a Stanley Cup with the Avalanche in 2001, along with Olympic gold medals in 1994 and 2006. His 755 points in 589 games are the fourth-highest total in Quebec/Colorado franchise history. He is sixth in goals with 217 and third in assists with 538.

In 706 NHL games with the Nordiques, Avalanche, Philadelphia Flyers and Nashville Predators, he had 885 points.

Forsberg's totals would be even greater except for chronic foot and ankle problems that plagued him during the latter part of his career and could cause him to finally give up on his quest to resume playing.

"I played in a couple of charity games in Sweden a little while ago and it hasn't felt as good yet to start playing," he said. "It doesn't look too good. I haven't made a 100-percent decision yet. I don't want to set a date or anything, but we'll see what happens."

Forsberg last played in the NHL with the Avalanche at the end of the 2007-08 season, when he had 14 points in nine regular-season games and 5 points in seven playoff games.

Forsberg was limited to a total of 26 games the past two seasons with Modo in the Swedish Elite League.

Forsberg, who remains as popular as ever with Avalanche fans, said he's excited about returning to the Pepsi Center ice for next month's reunion and probably would be tempted to lace on skates to play.

"Everybody's going to think like that," he said. "You get on the ice and everybody's going to cheer and of course you think back and you really want to be (playing) again. You've been involved in hockey for so long and it's a special feeling when you get on the ice. Of course it's going to be great and you're going to feel like you want to get back playing."

Forsberg played a pivotal role in the Avalanche's first championship run, with 10 goals and 11 assists in 22 playoff games after he collected 30 goals and a career-high 116 points in the regular season.

The Avalanche won each of their first three playoff series in six games, defeating Vancouver, Chicago and Detroit, before sweeping Florida in the Stanley Cup Final.

"We had a good team before the season, but then we got some veterans like Claude Lemieux, Patrick Roy and Mike Keane and they really taught us a lot," he said. "Around the middle of the season, we started to believe we could win. Then in the playoffs, Joe (Sakic) and Patrick started carrying us a little.

"When you win something, you have a special bond and good memories, so I'm excited. I think everybody is looking forward to coming out on the ice. I played in the Pepsi Center not too long ago, but it'll be a little different not playing. It's going to be great to be back in Denver. I'm looking forward to seeing all the guys. Instead of skating I'll be walking, but it'll be great to be back there."
"For me, I haven't 100-percent closed the door, but it's pretty close."                     -- Peter Forsberg
Forsberg said he would have few regrets if he does decide to hang up his skates for good.

"I'm so happy that I was able to win a lot of things when I was younger," he said. "It would be hard if I didn't get to win the Cup. There were world championships and the Olympics. I think I was really fortunate. Of course I'm a little sour that I didn't get to, if it happens, to quit on my own terms. But people have it worse than me. I can't go around thinking I had a bad time."

Quote of the Day

I didn't even know how to celebrate. I threw my hands up, they gave me a hug, so I guess that's all I needed.

— Sabres forward Tim Schaller on scoring his first NHL goal Sunday against the Bruins