Peter Forsberg: Should he stay or should he just go away?

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peterforsberg2.jpgThe other day we mentioned for you that Peter Forsberg (you remember him don’t you?) was looking to get healthy once again and trying to play for his Swedish team MoDo. We speculated a little bit about what that would do for the annual rumors of Forsberg returning to North America and giving the NHL one more go for old time sake and apparently we weren’t alone in doing so. Adrian Dater of the Denver Post opined about Foppa and got a little wistful for the Avalanche days of yore.

You always have to wish Foppa nothing but the best and hope the medical gods give him a break. Here’s hoping.

Question is: would the Avs want him back, if Foppa said he wanted to play in Denver? I’m sure the one guy they’d listen to, even in their youth movement, would be No. 21. Odds are probably higher he’d end up in Philly or New York or Washington, but you know Denver will always be where Foppa’s heart is.

It’d be a romance novel if it was written any sweeter than that. Of course, what fun would it be if there wasn’t someone taking the opposing view. Enter From The Rink’s Mike Chen who pens his own letter to Peter Forsberg kindly asking him to stay away.

I know you may feel like giving it one more try with Modo, but how many times have we heard this now? It’s not the way it’s supposed to be, but that’s the harsh reality of it. Despite being robbed by injuries, you’ve still got a hockey career that few can match. Is there a reason to give it one more chance? It can’t be money; you’ve never been the money-grubbing type and besides, you’ve certainly got plenty of it (despite that failed Crocs investment; we’ll just pretend that never happened). If it was money you were after, I’m sure your agent would be calling the KHL but that doesn’t seem to be happening.

So I’m sure it’s about personal pride and love of the game. But to us outsiders, love of the game means letting it go. Let us remember this Peter Forsberg, not the guy who kept hanging on. Let your legacy be the guy who won two Stanley Cups and dominated the league for much of the 1990s and early 2000s, not the guy who has become a running joke among hockey fans.

Running joke might sound a bit harsh but after going through this routine each of the last few years with Peter Forsberg, it stings with the truth. Forsberg was a great player, and a polarizing one. You either loved his skills and ability to score at will or you despised him for his ability to sneak in a cheap hit or take a dive to get a call. Love him or hate him, the guy was other-worldly talented. Now he’s a guy with a perpetually injured foot who saw his career shortened because of nagging injuries.

Forsberg did give it another go during the past Olympics in Vancouver and seemed to be more of a hindrance to his Swedish line mates than a helper. If he couldn’t blend in well with the likes of Henrik Zetterberg and Daniel Alfredsson, what’s he going to do when playing the pivot on a line with say Alexander Semin, Marian Gaborik or Claude Giroux? Chances are he’d have a hard time keeping up with those guys and with the way the NHL is played now, the chances of Forsberg getting re-injured here are sky high. It’s probably best that Forsberg sit this one out, at least in the NHL, because turning into the bizarro Brett Favre is probably not how anyone imagined Peter Forsberg’s legacy turning out.

Sheary’s in for Penguins in Game 2; Kunitz is a game-time decision

Pittsburgh Penguins' Conor Sheary (43) is greeted by teammates Brian Dumoulin (8) and Chris Kunitz (14) after scoring his first NHL goal, in the first period of the Penguins' hockey game against the Boston Bruins, Friday, Dec. 18, 2015, in Pittsburgh. Bruins' Brad Marchand is at lower right. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
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Both the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals might look a little different in Game 2 on Saturday after that blistering Game 1.

As the team down 1-0, it’s not too surprising that the Penguins boast the more significant lineup questions, although they lean toward health concerns rather than performance tweaks.

Conor Sheary was able to return during Game 1 after Tom Wilson‘s controversial knee-to-knee hit, and he appears to be in for tonight’s contest as well. Chris Kunitz isn’t quite a guarantee, as he’s currently labeled a game-time decision.

For what it’s worth, Kunitz himself believes he’ll be in. Whether he plays on Saturday or not, it sounds like Kunitz is taking extra safety measures going forward.

The Penguins stayed vague with Marc-Andre Fleury, merely claiming that he’s making “progress.”

Generally speaking, Matt Murray has been playing well for the Penguins. Of course, the scrutiny will rise if Pittsburgh loses Game 2 on Saturday.

The Capitals are also considering a tweak. CSN Mid-Atlantic reports that Barry Trotz is pondering replacing Dmitry Orlov with Taylor Chorney.

“They told me to be prepared as if I’m going to be playing,” Chorney said. “We’ll just see how it goes.”

As you may notice, Chorney isn’t the only one in wait-and-see mode heading into Game 2, which you can watch on NBC.

Hitchcock, Blues know they need to slow down the Stars … but can they?

The puck shot by Dallas Stars left wing Antoine Roussel crosses the goal line as St. Louis Blues goalie Brian Elliott (1) and defenseman Jay Bouwmeester (19) attempt the stop during the second period of Game 1 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Western Conference semifinals, Friday, April 29, 2016, in Dallas. The Stars won 2-1. (Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News via AP)
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The Dallas Stars only beat the St. Louis Blues by one goal (2-1) in Game 1, but the feeling is that the score was deceptively close.

Blame it on fatigue from that epic series against the Chicago Blackhawks or not; the Blues looked out of rhythm and out of breath against the hard-charging Stars.

At least they’re not in denial about that, though.

“We’re not going to beat anybody giving up 40 shots on goal,” Blues coach Ken Hitchcock told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch after their Game 1 loss on Friday. “We’re not going to beat anybody giving up the scoring chances we did today.”

Hitchcock added “we’ve got to find the energy to play our game, and we’ve got to find it quickly in the next 48 hours.”

Allowing 40 shots on goal might not be that common for the Blues, yet they leaned heavily on Brian Elliott against the Blackhawks in that series.

Just look at the SOG comparison in that series and in Game 1 vs. Dallas:

Game 1: Blues – 18 SOG, Blackhawks – 35
Game 2: Blues – 31, Blackhawks – 29
Game 3: Blues – 36, Blackhawks – 46
Game 4: Blues – 20, Blackhawks – 42
Game 5: Blues – 46, Blackhawks – 35
Game 6: Blues – 28, Blachawks – 36
Game 7: Blues – 26, Blackhawks – 33

Game 1: Blues – 32, Stars – 42

Such shot comparisons make you wonder if Game 1 provided evidence of a rest advantage or if this might just be the state of affairs for the Blues (at least against two electric offenses).

One area to watch is the transition game. The Stars seemed to tear through the neutral zone while the Blues sometimes struggled to get things going.

“They’re a team that wants to play real fast up the ice and through the neutral zone,” Jay Bouwmeester said, via the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “Yeah, we didn’t do a very good job of slowing them down. A lot of their chances were off the rush. That’s what you want to take away from them.”

File that under “easier said than done.”

Gather your lucky charms, 2016 NHL Draft Lottery is tonight

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Honestly, it’s tough to blame people for making Edmonton Oilers jokes in regards to the 2016 NHL Draft Lottery.

Really it’s only human nature to drop one-liners about the perennial cellar-dweller that (seemingly) always lands the No. 1 pick.

Will it happen again this time around? We’ll find out soon enough, more precisely sometime around 8 p.m. ET on NBC.

As you can see, the Oilers do not have the best odds to land the top pick … but they’re close:

A reminder: this time around the lottery will determine the top three picks. The NHL discusses that tweak and other changes here:

For the first time, the 2016 NHL Draft Lottery will assign the top three slots in the first round of the NHL Draft – a change from prior years, when the Draft Lottery was used to determine the winner of the first overall selection exclusively.

Want the full lowdown on the 2016 NHL Draft Lottery? PHT has you covered here.

Here’s your Stanley Cup playoffs schedule for tonight

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The Stanley Cup playoffs continue with two games on Saturday. You can catch tonight’s games via the NBC Sports Group’s television and digital platforms.

NY Islanders at Tampa Bay (3:00 p.m. ET)

The TV broadcast of Game 2 will be on NBC. To stream the game using the NBC Sports Live Extra app, click here.

Pittsburgh at Washington (8:00 p.m. ET)

The TV broadcast of Game 2 will also be on NBC. To stream the game using the NBC Sports Live Extra app, click here.

Some reading to get you pumped up:

– The Penguins are keeping chatty Marc-Andre Fleury from speaking to the media (reportedly).

Tom Wilson received a fine, not a suspension, for that knee-to-knee hit.

T.J. Oshie was the difference-maker for Washington in Game 1.

– Don’t expect Steven Stamkos to face red-hot John Tavares anytime soon (or at all, maybe).

Read about the Isles’ Game 1 win.