Forsberg Denver-bound to honour Sakic


STOCKHOLM, Sweden — Peter Forsberg is heading to Denver to honour former Colorado Avalanche teammate Joe Sakic next week.

Forsberg, who won two Stanley Cups with the Colorado Avalanche and was the NHL’s MVP in 2003, will stay in North America for two weeks before returning to his native Sweden.

Sakic’s jersey No. 19 will be retired before the season opener against the San Jose Sharks at the Pepsi Center in Denver next Thursday.

“He was a fantastic player,” Forsberg said of Sakic. “He meant a lot for me during my career, so it feels right to be there for this occasion.”

Sakic was the last link to the Avs’ days as the Quebec Nordiques. A first-round pick in 1987, Sakic spent his entire 20-year career with the franchise, leaving as the scoring leader with 1,641 points and eighth of all-time. He tallied 625 goals, and was only the 11th player in NHL history to eclipse 1,000 assists.

Forsberg, 36, has been pondering retirement for a long time and hasn’t decided yet if he’ll play again this season.

His hometown team Modo gave him a one-week tryout contract and the veteran centre responded by scoring three times — including a winning goal — in as many games last week. He also had an assist for a team-leading four points.

“I’m grateful that I got the chance … I’m pretty satisfied, but I wasn’t 100 per cent,” Forsberg said.

Forsberg embarked on another comeback attempt following multiple foot surgeries with the aim of returning to the NHL and possibly the Vancouver Winter Olympics in February.

He was a key player on Sweden’s Olympic champion teams at the 1992 Lillehammer Games, where he scored the deciding goal in a shootout against Canada, and the 2006 Turin Olympics.

Forsberg has only played sporadically over the last two seasons because of an chronic right foot complaint.

He made a late-season return to the Avalanche in 2008, but injuries kept him out of nine of 18 regular-season games and three of four games in the second round of the playoffs.

He tried playing for Modo last season, but only managed two games before calling off that comeback attempt. Last month, Forsberg was picked for Sweden’s preliminary Olympic roster for the Vancouver Games.

“It’s hard to retire when you’ve got that feeling again, to score game winners,” Forsberg said.

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