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Once more with feeling: Peter Forsberg to practice with Avalanche – Last chance at a comeback?

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Thus proving that it’s never truly a dull moment in the day until there’s some wacky news about a Peter Forsberg comeback, Colorado announced today that Forsberg will, indeed, be practicing with the Avalanche starting tomorrow. Is he just working out for the heck of it because he’s in Denver? Does skating in the altitude make him feel better? Did he miss the Rocky Mountain Oysters?

No, it’s much more serious than that.

“I need to see where I am physically and practicing with NHL players is the best way to find that out,” said Forsberg.

A player doesn’t get to practice with a NHL team because he feels like it. Granted, Forsberg essentially has carte blanche in Denver to do as he wants to. But another attempt at a comeback? Oh boy.

We’ve roasted previous stories about Forsberg even discussing making a comeback in the NHL and gotten a good chuckle out of it just the same and this is no different. After all, he stopped playing for his Swedish taem MODO because he was still having issues with his forever injured foot. The fact that the Avalanche have swung the doors open for Forsberg to practice with the team either speaks to their need to replace Tomas Fleischmann, who’s out for the season after discovering he has pulmonary emboli, or to the fact the Avalanche are having a terrible time drawing fans to Pepsi Center.

The Avs are drawing an average of 14,470 fans per game, good for 82% capacity, 23rd best percentage in the NHL (source). Despite the team being youthful, fast, and exciting to watch they haven’t been able to win fans back after the Avalanche struggled to go deep in the playoffs for a few seasons. Gone are the days of Forsberg, Joe Sakic, and Patrick Roy and gone with them have been the sellout crowds that were synonymous with Avalanche hockey. If bringing Forsberg back even just to practice with the team will get the casual fans to take notice again then, hey, that’s a great move and doesn’t really do anything to affect team chemistry.

If the Avs really think that Forsberg can be a contributor to the team they’re out of their minds. We’ve seen this act from Forsberg before in ill-fated seasons with the Flyers and Predators where anything positive he tried to bring to those teams was eventually submarined by injury problems.

A player has the right to play as long as he wants to, but in this case, it seems like most fans want to remember Forsberg for being the dominating power forward of the late 90s/early 2000s and not for being the NHL’s answer to Brett Favre.

A ‘number of concerns’ about Jonathan Quick led Kings to pursue Bishop

2014 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Media Day
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Dean Lombardi revealed that he and Steve Yzerman had been working on a deal for Ben Bishop for about two or three weeks.

On Sunday, a deal between the Kings and Lightning was finally completed and it had basically everything to do with Jonathan Quick. Speaking in a conference call, Lombardi, the Kings general manager, noted a “number of concerns” for Quick coming back from a 59-game absence because of a groin injury before finally returning to game action Saturday.

Quick was impressive in a win over the Anaheim Ducks, but Lombardi and the Kings just could not be sure about how he would fare in the stretch drive after coming back from such a lengthy time away, and were therefore set on acquiring another No. 1 goalie.

“You’re never sure how well a guy who’s been out this long — is he going to have his ‘A’ game, so to speak, or not? These type of injuries, which are fairly serious, the history of comebacks can go either way,” said Lombardi.

“On the other hand, we all know Jon’s a tremendous athlete. He’s one of the top goaltenders in the game and most importantly he’s one of the game’s top competitors. So you certainly don’t worry about Jon … once he passes the mental part that ‘I’m capable of doing athletically what I have in the past’ that he’s going to be able to give it his all.”

The Kings, currently three points out of a playoff spot in the West, are in a stretch of three games in four nights.

Bishop is expected to join the team for the morning skate tomorrow. Lombardi even mentioned that coach Darryl Sutter had actually planned on playing the newly acquired netminder Monday versus the Wild. That is still to be determined but it’s likely Bishop plays one of the Kings’ next two games. They’re in Calgary on Tuesday.

The condensed schedule over the next few weeks was another factor in making the trade for the Kings. They just simply don’t want to wear Quick down.

“This is not an insurance policy,” said Lombardi. “There’s not a lot of room here for error. We just want to take that out of the equation by making sure that we have a No. 1 goalie in there every night.”

Bishop is a pending unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. The Kings have Quick under contract until 2023 at a cap hit of $5.8 million.

While Lombardi didn’t completely rule out the chance of re-signing Bishop — “You never say ‘never,'” he said — bringing in a player on an expiring contract was something the Kings were willing to do in this case.

“If not, we’re comfortable with what we had to pay to give ourselves a chance here to get in. After that, as we know, anything can happen,” he said. “The focus was on getting the best goalie available.”

The Kings face other issues. You could argue more pressing issues.

Sure, they made a move they believe will strengthen the goaltending position. But they’re also 25th in scoring, averaging just 2.44 goals-for per game. They had a nice third-period outburst Saturday, but for the most part, goals have been hard to come by for L.A.

“There’s players that will freely admit right to you that they’re capable of producing more. We don’t want to lose our defensive identity. We’ve got two of the best goalies in the league there now,” said Lombardi.

“Now when we get into the other team’s end … we’ve got to bear down.”

Video: Duncan Keith gets 500th point; Blackhawks put on passing clinic

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The Chicago Blackhawks’ two biggest names (Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane) scored the first two goals against the St. Louis Blues on Sunday. It’s fitting that Duncan Keith, the third big core player, hit a milestone in the process.

By assisting on Kane’s goal, Keith collected the 500th point of his already-impressive NHL career.

This currently places him at 89 goals, 411 assists and 500 points in 895 games … with some time to beef up his totals on Sunday.

You can see him get his 500th point in the video above.

The prettier of the two plays was likely the passing clinic Chicago put on with Toews finishing the play. Enjoy that impressive display in the video below:

Keith’s assist could end up being important in this one, as the Blues recently made it 2-1 before the end of the first period. Tune into the game on NBCSN and follow the livestream here.

BREAKING: Wild reportedly acquire Hanzal, White from Coyotes

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The Minnesota Wild have made a bold move and paid a price ahead of the trade deadline.

According to multiple reports, the Wild acquired Martin Hanzal, Ryan White and a fourth-round pick in 2017 from the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for a first-round pick this year, a second-round pick in 2018, a conditional fourth-round pick in 2019 and minor leaguer Grayson Downing, per TSN’s Bob McKenzie.

That’s quite a haul of draft picks for the Coyotes, currently in the midst of a rebuild.

For the Wild, leading the Central Division by three points in their first season under coach Bruce Boudreau, they get a towering center in Hanzal, who stands six-foot-six-inches tall and 226 pounds. He has 16 goals and 26 points in 51 games for Arizona this season.

White has 171 penalty minutes combined between this season and last. He has seven goals and 13 points in 46 games this season.

More to come.

WATCH LIVE: Blues at Blackhawks

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 12: Patrick Kane #88 of the Chicago Blackhawks controls the puck against Jay Bouwmeester #19 and Jake Allen #34 of the St. Louis Blues during the season opening game at the United Center on October 12, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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The St. Louis Blues will look to improve their cushion in the Western Conference playoff race when they visit the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday.

You can catch the game on NBCSN (7:30 p.m. ET) or online with the NBC Sports’ Live Extra.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

Here are some links to check out for tonight’s game:

NHL On NBCSN: Blues look to slow down Blackhawks

Blues extend Berglund — five years, $19.25 million

Blackhawks’ Hjalmarsson ‘day-to-day,’ will not play on Sunday