He’s made several attempts at a comeback over the last several years, but he was never able to overcome his injuries and had to put playing again on hold. But now he’s decided to finally hang the skates up for good.
Because of his comeback attempts, some people have compared Forsberg to Brett Favre and his seemingly neverending saga. The Forsberg/Favre comparisons, however, could not be further from reality. Yes, both players struggled to make decisions whether or not they wanted to continue playing, but otherwise, there’s not much to complain about how Forsberg handled himself.
For Forsberg, it was never a matter of whether or not he wanted to play, it was a matter of whether or not he could play. I don’t think there was ever a lull in his desire to continue playing. Forsberg suffered from foot injuries that severely hampered his ability to play at what he considered a suitable level. He underwent surgery after surgery to fix the problem, part of which being that the shape of his foot was changed after one of his earlier surgeries, causing him additional problems.
Peter Forsberg is a very proud player, and even though a Forsberg at 80% ability is better than most NHL players, he wouldn’t play unless he was at 100%. He doesn’t care about records or personal fame or the paychecks, he wants to win. That’s it. If he were in it for the money, he would have gladly played at a lesser level just to collect his check. Teams would have lined up at his doorstep offering him much more than the pro-rated $1 million contract he signed with the Avalanche this season. But he’s not going to play unless he feels he can truly help a team. He didn’t feel he could anymore, so he decided to retire.
And that’s the shame about the whole situation: one of the game’s better player’s career was cut short because of a seemingly small problem that was completely out of his control. He was the model professional on and off the ice. He could take control of a game like only a few in the game have ever done, in a way that even the best players of today are not able to yet to do. He had a very underrated physical game and his feel and sight of the game was so great that certain players with similar skills are described to have “Forsberg vision.”
As for the media frenzy Forsberg’s comeback attempts cause, why blame him? He’s never tried to bring the attention to himself – but when a player of his calibre makes an important announcement, the media storm follows. As long as the player doesn’t try to milk it, how it is his fault?
For the record, I’m not trying to say that Brett Favre did all of things that Forsberg didn’t. That said, however, Favre’s saga got old very quickly for many, many people and I can’t personally say that his intentions were quite as pure as Forsberg’s. Oh yeah, and Forsberg never sent any questionable texts to anyone…