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Work visa all that's keeping Forsberg off ice now

Monday, 02.07.2011 / 4:36 PM / NHL Insider

By Jerry Brown - NHL.com Correspondent

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The good news is Peter Forsberg said he's feeling so good on the ice that he conceivably could have played against the Phoenix Coyotes here Monday.

The bad news is, even if he wanted to, he couldn't.

After signing a contract to play for the Colorado Avalanche over the weekend, Forsberg now has to enter the United States as a worker rather that a visitor. That means he has to leave -- perhaps as early as Monday -- and obtain the proper immigration and work-visa paperwork before resuming his NHL career with the Avalanche.

"You know, I really don't know what's going to happen," Forsberg 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.

"Once he's squared away, it will be Peter's and my decision. Once that (the paperwork) is cleared up, he'll be available. I think it will give us a spark emotionally, and it will certainly boost our lineup." -- Joe Sacco

"But I brought my passport. I know I'm going to a different country, that's all."
 
The 37-year-old Forsberg, attempting another comeback with the team he helped to a pair of Stanley Cups before foot and ankle problems derailed his career, had a full morning on the ice after accompanying the team to Arizona. He skated all-out before the team practiced, then took part in the entire practice before spending about 45 minutes playing 3-on-3 with teammates Kyle Cumiskey and David Koci and Avalanche assistant coaches Steve Konowalchuk, Sylvain Lefebvre and Adam Deadmarsh.

He came off the ice drenched in sweat but smiling. He was asked if he could he have laced them up tonight against the Coyotes.

"I guess I could," he said. "But really, it's going to take a few days. You want to get back playing as soon as you can, but honestly, I don't think a few more practices are going to hurt me. We'll see how long it takes for the immigration. That's all I have to wait for right now."

The Avalanche had two members of its media relations team on the trip -- leaving one as a possibility to accompany Forsberg on a trip to obtain his proper visas. If he gets things straightened out, he could make his debut as early as Wednesday in Minnesota.
 
Things have come quickly for Forsberg this week -- from practicing with the team all weekend to signing a contract with the Avs to waking up in Arizona on Monday.

"I woke up this morning and (said), 'Aw, what happened?'" he said. "The day before you're going to practice in Denver and you don't even know if you're playing. The next day you're in Phoenix, waking up. I'm going to be nervous; I don't know how it's going to be this time -- if I'm going to be good or bad."

Colorado coach Joe Sacco made it sound like "the logistics" were the only thing keeping Forsberg from playing.

"Once he's squared away, it will be Peter's and my decision. Once that (the paperwork) is cleared up, he'll be available," Sacco said. "I think it will give us a spark emotionally, and it will certainly boost our lineup."

Playing for my favorite team growing up, I've probably scored that goal a million times in my driveway. It feels good to actually do it in real life.

— Dale Weise, who grew up a Canadiens fan, on scoring the overtime winner in Montreal's 5-4 victory against Tampa Bay in Game 1