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Forsberg to play for Avalanche tonight

Friday, 02.11.2011 / 12:40 PM / News

By Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

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Forsberg to play for Avalanche tonight
The Colorado Avalanche will have Peter Forsberg in lineup tonight as they travel to Columbus to take on the Blue Jackets.
Peter Forsberg will skate in his first regular-season NHL game in nearly three years Friday when the Colorado Avalanche visit the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Forsberg signed with Avs on Feb. 6 in another attempt to continue a career that has been derailed by injuries to his right foot and ankle. The delay in getting him on the ice had been due to Forsberg receiving a work visa to play in the U.S.

During the team's morning practice, Forsberg skated at left wing on a line with Matt Duchene and Milan Hejduk.

"I'm excited -- and nervous," Forsberg told the Denver Post. "I don't know how it's going to go, but I'm going to be skating with two great players, so hopefully they can help me out a little bit out there."


The Avs need all the help they can get. They've lost five straight and have fallen to 14th in the Western Conference, seven points behind eighth-place Calgary.

"It's going to be good," Duchene told the Post. "He's obviously a great passer and I'm just hoping he can find me out there and maybe I can get a couple goals. I think it's a good thing for us, a good distraction for us, maybe make us a little bit lighter. Every team goes through tough stretches, but it's far from over and hopefully we can get back in to a playoff spot."

Forsberg last played in the NHL during the 2007-08 season, when he had 14 points in nine regular-season games with the Avalanche, and 5 points in seven Stanley Cup Playoff games.
"We're hoping he can help create some offense for us. He brings experience and he brings winning to our club. He's won some Stanley Cups, and you can never have enough of those guys, guys who have been through those kinds of games and experiences." -- Avalanche coach Joe Sacco
Forsberg had his greatest success with the Avalanche, winning the Hart and Art Ross trophies in 2003 and the Stanley Cup in 1996 and 2001.

However, injuries always seem to be an issue with Forsberg. He's played as many as 70 games four times in 12 seasons, and since labor issues caused the cancellation of the 2004-05 season, he's played as many as 60 games just once.

Now 37, what does Forsberg still have to offer?

"We're hoping he can help create some offense for us," Sacco told the Post. "He brings experience and he brings winning to our club. He's won some Stanley Cups, and you can never have enough of those guys, guys who have been through those kinds of games and experiences."

Avs captain Adam Foote played on those championship teams with Forsberg, and said anything the team gets from Forsberg will be useful.

"I don't know where he's going to be after that long break," said Foote, "but even if he's not going to be at that ultimate level, a Forsberg at any level is good for your hockey team. Especially a young team like ours, that is struggling and been through a lot of injuries. We're going through a lull, and what better way to get out of it than add a Peter Forsberg?

"He'll help us on the ice. He'll help us in the dressing room. We need to fight and there is no one more competitive in this game. Why else would he still be here trying? If he still wants it ... what's anyone else's excuse?"

Contact Adam Kimelman at
akimelman@nhl.com


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