Photo by bridgetds
To the surprise of no one, Peter Forsberg’s comeback isn’t going as smoothly as Forsberg hoped it would.
Forsberg swears he’ll decide on if he’s coming back “soon” but told The Denver Post if he had to announce his decision today, he wouldn’t return to the Avalanche.
I get why Forsberg wants to return to the NHL. He still feels like he has some hockey left in him. He might have been watching some LIGHTS OUT. Forsberg didn’t get to leave hockey on his own terms, so it’s natural he would try and figure out a way back into the game.
But the Avs are a young team and while they’re outside of the playoffs right now, they’re still very much in the thick of the race for the lower spots. Joe Sacco needs to concentrate on preparing the team he has, not the team he might have at some future but undetermined point. Every practice shift Forsberg takes is a practice shift missed by an active player.
And for athletes, uncertainty can be a tremendous distraction. Look at the Carmelo Anthony saga in New Jersey. The NBA’s Denver Nuggets completed a trade, in theory, sending Anthony to the New Jersey Nets, with much of the Nets roster going to the Nuggets and other NBA teams. But Anthony held up the trade for weeks and the Nets collapsed under the uncertainty of what was going to happen. To the point that the Nets eventually pulled the trade off of the table.
Athletes can get used to a trade or being scratched, but it’s much tougher to just sit and wait for the trade or the scratch.
How is a young Avalanche team, one with players, like Matt Duchene, who idolize Forsberg, not supposed to think about Forsberg? How are they not supposed to think about how he might save their season? How are they not supposed to defer to him on the ice?
Forsberg was an incredible NHL player. I’m not sure the league has ever had another player with so much grit and finesse.
But if Forsberg can’t seamlessly slide into the Avalanche lineup at a specific time, Colorado needs to call the whole thing off.
Otherwise, Forsberg’s on-again/off-again comeback is only going to become a huge distraction at a point in the season when the team needs to focus on a push into the playoffs, not on if an NHL legend can successfully reverse his retirement.