NHL.com's Q&A feature called "Five Questions With …" runs each Tuesday throughout the 2017-18 regular season. We talk to key figures in the game and ask them questions to gain insight into their lives, careers and the most recent news.
The latest edition features four-time Stanley Cup winner and Hockey Hall of Fame forward Peter Forsberg.
STOCKHOLM -- Peter Forsberg was back in the NHL last week. It was obvious how much the Hall of Famer is missed.
Forsberg, who lives in downtown Stockholm with his family, including his three children, ages 5, 3 and 1, set aside his work on his real estate investments in Denver and Sweden and with shoe brands Crocs and Steve Madden throughout Scandinavia to focus on bringing more attention to the 2017 SAP NHL Global Series games at Ericsson Globe on Friday.
His former team, the Colorado Avalanche, were in town to play two games against the Ottawa Senators and Forsberg seemingly was everywhere.
He did a joint press conference to promote the event with former Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson on Wednesday. Forsberg and Alfredsson skated with 35 kids, ages 12-15, as part of an initiative to promote the NHL and NHL Players' Association's new Declaration of Principles on Thursday.
Video: Peter Forsberg won two Stanley Cups with Avalanche
Forsberg stood at center ice and received a standing ovation from the 13,396 in attendance Friday to drop the puck for the ceremonial face-off between Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog and Senators captain Erik Karlsson.
He was at the game Saturday and received another loud ovation when he was shown on the scoreboard.
Forsberg also gave NHL.com nearly a half-hour of his time for an interview that covered various topics, including the state of the Avalanche, his thoughts on Sweden-born players in the NHL, the state of offense in the League, his potential future in the game and what he misses most about his past.
Here are Five Questions with … Peter Forsberg:
Considering what the Avalanche went through last season with 48 points, fewest in the League, and how they've started this season, what do you see now and do you have optimism about where your former team is headed?
"I would say so. I don't see every game but I've seen a few, and what I see is the young guys want to win. They have a lot of young guys but they're trying and they're trying hard. I talked to [former teammate and current Avalanche general manager] Joe [Sakic] too. He likes the attitude on the team now. A guy like Landeskog, I think he's a good leader. He goes out on the ice and plays his heart out every single night. I think it was in combination with the injuries last year. I think Erik Johnson means a lot on the [defense]. He plays a lot of minutes and he plays against the best. With him getting hurt and them not winning last year, and of course when you fall as far behind as they did, you know you're out so it's hard to stay concentrated on it all at the end. But I like what they've done. They're young and with this trade [forward Matt Duchene to the Senators], they bring a lot of young talent, got a couple more draft picks. I like [forward Mikko] Rantanen too. He's a skilled guy. And you've got Landeskog and [center Nathan] MacKinnon, so with a few more pieces and then the young guys, the few of them, they're good and they will be good. I think the Avalanche, it took a while to build but I think they're on the right track. I like the team now."
Do you have an interest in getting back into hockey, whether it's in Sweden or in the NHL, or do you want to stay just with your business interests?
"What happened was I was involved with [Swedish Hockey League team] MODO and in Sweden I will never get involved with another team. That's my team and I will help them. But what happened is I had two kids, 4 and 2, and my fiancé was pregnant again so I couldn't go out and watch the games. It got kind of hard. Now we have three kids, 5, 3 and 1, so right now I have to not be involved too much. But I like hockey. If there is a game on I stop and watch it. I wake up every morning and look at the scores in the NHL, who scored. I watch MODO. So I enjoy hockey and I think I know hockey, so I'd like to be involved one day. I would say with MODO. I'm here in Sweden and MODO is the closest. My heart is with MODO so I'm not going to do anything else."
What do you think about the state of Swedish hockey players in the NHL?
"Well, with the Swedes, especially on the defense side, we have one of the best in the League. We have [Victor] Hedman, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Karlsson. That's three of the top 10 I would say. But they went [to North America] pretty early too. If you look at me and [Mats] Sundin and [Nicklas] Lidstrom, we played a few games in the Swedish league and always on the national team, but the young guys nowadays, it's not only Swedish heroes anymore. They play NHL on PlayStation, so if it's Connor McDavid or if it's a Swede it doesn't really matter anymore. Look at Landeskog, he didn't play much of a Swedish game before he went over there because he was in junior over there. When we were coming up we would follow the national team, play in the world Championships, and I played three and a half years in MODO before I left. People in Sweden knew who I was before I went over so they kind of followed that. But now even if it's a Swedish guy growing up he could definitely have Sidney Crosby [as his favorite player]. But it was great when they won the Worlds this year because everybody came home. It was great. We had a really good team because everybody wanted to come home. You live through those guys for three weeks so they got exposed in the papers and the kids started following them and they won. I think it was great for the players and for the national team that they won."
Video: BOS@ARI: Ekman-Larsson rips home PPG to set record
Goals are up in the NHL this season, at about six per game on average. If it stays that way it will be the highest total offensive season since the 2005-06 season. Do you, when you're watching the NHL game, see a different type of offensive game now?
"The guys are so fast nowadays. I played a charity game when I was with [Alexander] Steen and Hedman and Anton Lander, like, they don't have any fat on their bodies anymore. I'm like, and I call myself an athlete? They're so fast nowadays and it happens more in the game now. It's back and forth and the forwards with all the passes up the boards from the [defensemen], I think they figured out where they're scoring from and how they're scoring. A guy like McDavid, he's almost too fast to stop. When he skates forward the [defensemen] can't keep up. It's unbelievable. I like the speed game. I saw Colorado when I was over there and I saw Tampa [Bay Lightning] against the [New York] Rangers too. Yeah, it was a fun game. The clutching and grabbing being out of it, you can have more speed. It's just the puck bounces here and there and somebody is off. I like the game now. I like that there's more goals. People want to see goals. I think with not letting the goalies have bigger pads helps. It's a few things they can't do so I like what they've done."
What do you miss about playing?
"Winning. The feeling after the game when you won the game. I always say when you walked out of the Pepsi Center and you sat in your car and you drove by the fans and everybody is cheering, I think that's the best. When I think back, it was the best feeling. Going to eat dinner and feeling, 'I did a good job tonight.' Next game was always new game and you've got to concentrate, but just that feeling when you walked out, 'Ah, great, two goals and we won the game.' That's what I miss the most. It's 18,000 people. Everywhere you went afterward everyone is happy. You played well, you're driving through the fans and you can look them in the eye and say, 'I played well, I did my job.' I think that's the best feeling. I was always nervous before the game and I don't miss that, but the feeling after the game, you go through all of that just to get it."