Not-so stunning news: Peter Forsberg not optimistic about returning to pro hockey

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Thumbnail image for peterforsberg2.jpgIt’s pretty amazing that in a what’s been a busy summer (sarcasm alert!) we’ve been able to squeeze in talk about a guy who last played in the NHL back in 2007-2008, but here we are in the summer of 2010 and former Avalanche/Flyer/Predator Peter Forsberg keeps finding a way  to grab some headlines.

While Forsberg has been playing some light-hearted hockey throughout Sweden of late he took some time out to address whether there’ll be more serious hockey played by him in the near future. If you consulted your Magic 8-Ball before reading this story, it might say “Outlook not so good.”

In an interview with Swedish television station TV6 following an exhibition game in his home country, the two-time Stanley Cup champion was not optimistic about his chances of continuing to play professional hockey.

“It’s no good,” Forsberg told TV6.  “I have no balance skating.  If it continues to be as it is today, I will not continue playing.”

While Forsberg stated that he was disappointed, he was not ready to completely close the door on his professional career.  He plans to take some time off and then continue training in his home town of Ornskoldsvik.

“We may give it a week,” Forsberg told TV6.  “The foot, I can not do anything about the equipment but it could get better.”

All right so maybe the 8-Ball should say, “reply hazy – try again” or “concentrate and ask again” which, undoubtedly, some reporter is going to do anyhow. Look, we’re two years removed from last seeing Forsberg play in the NHL and we’re about five years removed from last seeing Peter Forsberg have a great season in North America. His 2005-2006 season in Philadelphia saw him rack up 75 points. His two NHL seasons after that saw him combine for 69 points, an ignominious end to what was once a great career.

One can understand why Forsberg would want to give it one more chance at glory, but at this point with how bad his foot injury is and how it just cannot stay healthy, at some point hanging it up for good has to be the answer. Forsberg isn’t getting any younger and many fans are growing extremely tired of having this same, eventually disappointing story come up each year. Until that day Forsberg announces that he’s done and stops playing even in Europe, expect that fans will continue to try to make Foppa their own slice of Brett Favre in the NHL.

DiMaio named Blues’ director of player personnel

via St. Louis Blues
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The St. Louis Blues named Rob DiMaio their director of player personnel on Tuesday.

He’s been with the organization for some time. He joined as a pro scout in 2008 and was the pro scouting director starting in August 2012.

He was also a scout for the Dallas Stars before landing with the Blues (one would assume his biggest connection is GM Doug Armstrong, then).

In case his nose didn’t give it away, he also enjoyed a lengthy hockey career over 19 seasons.

No doubt about it, this is a pivotal season for the Blues after multiple campaigns in which strong regular seasons dissolved into playoff disappointments. Perhaps DiMaio can make a difference in a heightened role?

Hitchcock going to more aggressive attack for Blues

Ken Hitchcock

ST. LOUIS (AP) After three straight first-round playoff exits, the St. Louis Blues have learned to temper expectations.

They have been consistently among the NHL’s best in the regular season and realize it is past time to build something for the long haul. The sting still lingers from the latest failure, against the Minnesota Wild last spring.

“We’re all disappointed, everybody can agree on that,” defenseman Alex Pietrangelo said. “It’s never easy to kind of think about your failures, but we grow every time it happens.”

Management isn’t ready to tear it all down yet.

“We play, in my opinion, one of the toughest if not the toughest division in the NHL, and we’ve finished first or second in the last four years,” forward Alexander Steen said. “So we have an extremely powerful team.”

Maybe a change in strategy will be enough: Coach Ken Hitchcock is back with a mandate for a more aggressive, even reckless, style of play from a roster that hasn’t changed appreciably.

“We’re coming hard from the back and we’re coming hard to see how close we can get to the attack,” Hitchcock said. “I think it’s where the game’s at; I think it’s where the game’s going to go.”

The 63-year-old Hitchcock is pushing forward, too, unwilling to dwell on the flameouts. Coach and players agree that would be “wasted energy.”

“My opinion is when you sit and think about the past, you do yourself no good,” Hitchcock said. “If you learn from the past, that’s when you do yourself a whole bunch of good.”

There were only two major roster casualties. Forward Troy Brouwer came from Washington in a trade for fan favorite T.J. Oshie. Defenseman Barret Jackman, the franchise career leader in games, wasn’t re-signed.

“If you were expecting 23 new faces to be on the roster this year, I don’t think that was realistic,” captain David Backes said. “We’re going to miss those guys in the room and on the ice, but there has been some changeover and I think it’s pretty significant.”

Things to watch for with the Blues:

GOALIE SHUFFLE: Just like last year, there’s no true No. 1 with Brian Elliott and Jake Allen sharing duties. The 25-year-old Allen missed a chance to seize the job last spring when he failed to raise his level in the playoffs.

TOP THREAT: Vladimir Tarasenko had a breakout season with 37 goals and was rewarded with an eight-year, $60 million contract. The 23-year-old winger is by far the Blues’ most dangerous scoring option and said he won’t let the money affect his play. “I never worry about it,” Tarasenko said. “If you play good, you play good.”

NEW FACES: Brouwer and center Kyle Brodziak add a physical element that was perhaps lacking a bit last season. Brouwer has three 20-plus goal seasons and Brodziak, acquired from Minnesota, fills a checking role. Veteran forward Scottie Upshall got a one-year, two-way deal after being coming to camp as a tryout. Rookie forward Robby Fabbri, a first-round pick last year, will get an early look. Another promising youngster, forward Ty Rattie, begins the year at Chicago of the AHL.

RECOVERY WARD: Forward Jori Lehteri bounced back quickly from ankle surgery and opens the season without restrictions. Another forward, Patrik Berglund, could miss half of the season following shoulder surgery.

TRACK RECORD: The Blues won the Central Division last season and Hitchcock, fourth on the career list with 708 regular-season wins, has consistently had the team near the top of the standings. “He is our coach, tough cookies if you don’t like it,” Backes said. “From my experience, he puts together one heck of a game plan.”