With Peter Forsberg announcing his retirement this afternoon, the Avalanche legend and once dominating power forward finally faced up the reality of his situation. Sadly for Forsberg, his health, which has always held him back from having an even bigger career in the NHL, finally caught up to him to make him realize it was time to call it a career.
Forsberg spoke today to announce his departure from the NHL and it’s clear that his disappointment at his comeback and the sad realization that it’s all over was tough news to face up to.
“When I went out on the rink, I gave everything,” Forsberg said today. “I tried and tried and tried. I’m really sure this time.”
Forsberg added one other line with an emotional pause in his words (video here) that hammer home the point that this is it for him.
“I hope people remember me, that when I walked out of the rink, I gave everything,” he said.
Forsberg finishes his NHL career with 249 goals and 636 assists in 708 games. He won two Stanley Cups in 1996 and 2001, two Olympic gold medals in 1994 and 2006, the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year in 1995, and the Hart Trophy as league MVP in 2003.
In an era in the NHL when offense was tough to find, Forsberg excelled at scoring and setting up his teammates using his size and physicality to make room for himself. Many have been critical of Forsberg in the past for his attempts to fight through injuries and keep trying to hang on in the NHL, but it was a process he had to work out for himself and see if he could pull it off. His much maligned foot that caused him so many troubles throughout the end of his career was ultimately the thing that did him in once again, serving to be a sad reminder for himself and fans of what could’ve been had those problems never happened.
Forsberg is most likely destined for a date in the Hockey Hall of Fame and when he’s inducted in Toronto, it’s crazy to think that after being the highly touted prospect in the Eric Lindros deal in June of 1992 that he’s going to wind up being the most famous guy out of that entire monster deal.
Late in the third period of Friday’s game against the New York Rangers, things were looking good for Columbus.
Brandon Saad, who the team acquired from Chicago this off-season, scored his first goal of the season to give his team a 2-1 lead with under four minutes remaining in the contest.
Unfortunately for the Jackets, that’s as good as it would get.
The Rangers responded with three unanswered goals from Oscar Lindberg, Kevin Hayes and Mats Zuccarello to spoil Columbus’ home opener.
“When something like that happens at the end, I think we’re gonna be a better team because of it,” defenseman Ryan Murray told reporters after the game. “It’s a harsh lesson, but it’s a good one.
Luckily for Columbus, they won’t have to wait very long to try and get their revenge.
The Blue Jackets and Rangers will finish off their home-and-home series at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night, which might not be such a bad thing for Columbus.
“It’s good that we get another chance tomorrow,” Saad said after Friday’s game. “We were high on emotions (after the go-ahead goal) and they scored and it took the wind out of our sails, but we have to keep playing. We have to learn to keep doing our thing, regardless of the score.”
The Los Angeles Kings may owe Mike Richards money until 2031 (seriously), but in settling his grievance, the team and player more or less get to turn the page.
Not before Kings GM Dean Lombardi shares his sometimes startling perspective, though.
Lombardi has a tendency to be candid, especially in the press release-heavy world of sports management. Even by his standards, his account of Richards’ “destructive sprial” is a staggering read from the Los Angeles Times’ Lisa Dillman.
“Without a doubt, the realization of what happened to Mike Richards is the most traumatic episode of my career,” Lombardi said in a written summation he provided to the Los Angeles Times. “At times, I think that I will never recover from it. It is difficult to trust anyone right now – and you begin to question whether you can trust your own judgment. The only thing I can think of that would be worse would be suspecting your wife of cheating on you for five years and then finding out in fact it was true.”
Lombardi provides plenty of eyebrow-raising statements to Dillman, including:
- He believed he “found his own Derek Jeter” in Richards, a player who “at one time symbolized everything that was special about the sport.”
- Lombardi remarked that “his production dropped 50 percent and the certain ‘it’ factor he had was vaporizing in front of me daily.”
- The Kings GM believes that he was “played” by Richards.
Again, it’s a powerful read that you should soak in yourself, even if you’re unhappy with the way the Kings handled the situation.
Maybe the most pressing of many lingering questions is: will we get to hear Richards’ side of the story?