Colorado Avalanche

October 9, 2011 by staff 

Colorado AvalancheColorado Avalanche, Peter Forsberg’s return to ice immediately accelerated the crowd. As in the old days, but wearing a suit instead of a sweater and make a speech, no jarring checks.

Forsberg had his jersey No. 21 retired by the Colorado Avalanche before the season opener against the Detroit Red Wings.

The team also raised a banner with your name and number from the rafters of Pepsi Center on Saturday night, where they hang alongside those of Joe Sakic (19), Patrick Roy (33) and Ray Bourque (77).

“Unbelievable,” Forsberg said the stoic general. “I always remember this.”

Forsberg made his way into the sand while walking through the positions of high fiving the kids as he made his way through the ice. Once there, got into the maroon carpet that had been placed along the surface and took a lap around the track.

Along the way he shook hands with the current generation of Avalanche mounted on the bench and then hugged to Henrik Zetterberg Detroit, another Swede who got to the locker room to take in the ceremony.

The crowd gave him the ability to Forsberg a standing ovation for his trip around the ice.

That’s just the way we want to stay in the Mile High City, an enthusiasm that has never understood.

“You were always so good to me,” he said in his speech. “I really do not know why, but thank you very much.”

All I had to do was look at the scoreboard to understand his passion. A video tribute showed a large variety of hard knocks and album art with his stick.

In his prime, Forsberg was one of the best two-way players in the NHL. He helped Colorado to Stanley Cup titles in 1996 and 2001, along with winning the league MVP award in 2003.

“It was obvious he had a high level of skill, but I think it is the physical part of the game that led to the ice that made him different from his typical skill players,” said former teammate Claude Lemieux. “He was very good and he was also tough, physical and a pain to play against.”

All that remained was a foot behind Forsberg chronically injured, one that has prevented since 2003 and stole pieces of his career. He attempted a comeback with the avalanche of last season, only to pull the plug after a hearing of two games because of a persistent foot injury that is subjected to multiple surgeries in an effort to solve.

“[His physical style] definitely took a toll on his career,” Lemieux said. “I could have played more games if you do not play that way, but that’s what I wanted to play. You can not take the fire of a player.”

Lemieux woman blamed the former bully to instill the physical concept of Forsberg.

“She thought she was spreading a negative way about him,” chuckled Lemieux. “I said, ‘No, I have seen this guy before playing. He likes it that way.” And I would say to him, “You do not have to be physical. Let me do that.” He said, ‘No, I have to be involved in the game. “‘

Forsberg spent most of his career in Colorado before heading to Philadelphia after the NHL lockout in 2004-05. He donned a Flyers jersey for a season and a half before being dealt to Nashville.

He made sure to thank the organizations and in his farewell address, along with former teammates such as Joe Sakic, who is now helping in the office of the Avalanche.

Sakic even hit the ice to give a hug and Forsberg presented with a commemorative box.

And with that, Forsberg’s career on the ice was almost closed.

“I have to start a new life,” said Forsberg, whose parents, brother and girlfriend were all present. “I can not sit and do nothing.”

That’s why he goes to school and study of the economy, which will help run their business. Also helping his hometown club Sweden, Mode, as assistant general manager.

“I love my life,” said Forsberg. “It’s been hard the last couple of years [with the foot injury], but is fine now. I can not say anything negative about my life.”

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