Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The Forsberg files

Well, we're in a lull here with the all-star game, and with the actual "game" itself never being a heckuva lot to write home (literally) about, many of hockey's great minds have turned their attention to the NHL's moribund trade landscape.

And the name at the top of everyone's list? Former Art Ross/Hart/Bud Light Plus-Minus Trophy winner Peter Forsberg.

Where's he going? When will he go? What can the Flyers get in return? What kind of an impact can he make? Did you see that picture of him on Divealanche.com?

And, all the while, we hear next to nothing of what Forsberg has become: injured, ineffective and, at just 33, close to over the hill.

The Philadelphia Flyers are beyond out of the playoff race, on pace for 47 points in a league where teams miss with 90, and there's no question Forsberg's headed somewhere. And given what other, lower-profile soon-to-be unrestricted free agents commanded at the trade deadline last year (think Dwayne Roloson for a first-round pick), the Flyers will make out rather well in the whole thing.

The team getting Forsberg? Not so much.

While he hasn't admitted it in so many words, retirement is a lot closer to Forsberg's lips than most other players his age. His gimpy foot, which apparently resembles a crooked staircase, can't fit into any skate manufactured on the planet, something that seems as good a sign as any that he shouldn't be dancing on ice to begin with. The Croc-hocking Forsberg (at right) may have been one of the league's most dominant players as recently as a year ago, but this season he has all of eight goals and is on his worst points-per-game pace of his 12-year NHL career.

Forsberg himself has said he's been nowhere close to 100 per cent this season, but given the bidding war that's about to ensue for his services, he's not coming at a discount. And is it worth it to pay full price for a quasi-Forsberg, a player who this season has been able only to lead his team to the basement of the Eastern Conference?

If my team's one of those sniffing around in the Forsberg sweepstakes, I'm hoping they stay far away. There will be plenty of high-profile UFA sell-offs by the Feb. 27 trade deadline, and none will come with the string of asterisks currently attached to the Swedish star's name.

"What good does it do me going somewhere else if the foot is still bad and I can't play?" Forsberg said a month ago. "I have to find a solution to the foot problem."

There hasn't been a solution yet, and I can't see one on the horizon.

Maybe I'm wrong, but I think we're awfully close to seeing the last of one of the past decade's greatest stars.

PS All that said, I see the Thrashers, Ducks, Rangers, Habs, Flames and Canucks as teams likely to make a bid for his services. There will be others, sure, but those clubs seem like the best fit at this point.



At 8:43 a.m., January 23, 2007, Blogger Earl Sleek said...

All that said, I see the Thrashers, Ducks, Rangers, Habs, Flames and Canucks as teams likely to make a bid for his services. There will be others, sure, but those clubs seem like the best fit at this point.

Ducks are all about foot injuries lately. Best fit indeed.

At 3:09 p.m., January 23, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would be surprised if Holmgren managed to get a first-round pick -- or, really, anything of value -- for Forsberg.

This is a GM who gave up 2+ million in cap space -- plus a draft pick -- for Mike York. Enough said.

At 4:01 p.m., January 23, 2007, Blogger Nick said...

Retire early maybe? I felt bad for him for half a second then I remember that he's a former Ave and a freakin' bazillion-aire.

To witness Forsberg in action is to behold the very art and essence of the dive. The glancing touch of an opposing player's arm can catapult him headfirst across the ice as if he'd been hit by a Mack truck. The gentle brush of an opponent's glove can launch Forsberg eight feet through the air as if a landmine that only Peter can feel has exploded somewhere beneath his skates. The slightest tap of an enemy stick can spark a catastrophic, somersaulting yard sale, igniting a chorus of boos and sobs of indignation from the Avsmonkey audience.

Fortunately, due to his solid conditioning and imposing physical stature, Forsberg is seldom injured during his performances, and is always ready to lead his team in the ensuing power play.

At 12:29 p.m., January 24, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's sad that the guy's career has struck midnight with such sudden force, but that's show business. His buddy Markus Naslund isn't far behind - although Naslund doesn't have the injury problems, he too has clearly lost a step and lost those wonderful hands. It happens to a lot of offensive skill players at about this stage of their careers - heck, even Gretzky's point totals starting heading south a pretty quick pace at about this age.


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