Does anyone in North America remember Peter Forsberg? You know, that guy that scored 885 points for the Nordiques, Avalanche, Flyers and Predators?
Forsberg has attempted many comebacks to the NHL and other professional hockey leagues since playing in his last NHL game for the Colorado Avalanche in April 2008. His nagging ankle injuries has limited his play, but he has continued working on his game, earning a spot with fellow Swedish countryman Markus Naslund on Modo Hockey of the Swedish Elite League. Forsberg played in just three games last season, but has stormed back this campaign scoring eight goals and seven assists in nine games. Is this worthy of a roster spot on the 2010 Swedish Olympic Team?
Team Sweden Head Coach Bengt-Ake Gustafsson thinks so. On Sunday, Gustafsson announced his 23-man roster for the Swedish Team, who will be defending their 2006 Gold Medal victory in Turin. This roster includes 19 NHLers, three Swedish Elite League skaters and one KHL player. Forsberg is one of the few men that are not playing on an NHL club but squeaked into the lineup.
One person did not seem too happy about the Swedish club's decision. Mikael Samuelsson of the Vancouver Canucks was snubbed from the lineup and did not have very nice words for Gustafsson and his staff.
"Probably going to get in trouble for this, but they can go (expletive removed) themselves," Samuelsson stated after the Canucks' win over the Flames Sunday night.
The truth is that Samuelsson is enjoying a good season with the team he signed with over the summer. Being tied for third on the team in goals with ten and adding 14 assists, the right wing has been a great addition for the Canucks. Samuelsson could add size (6'2” 212 lbs.) and endurance (17:11 TOI/G) to a Swedish team that could be lacking grit.
Another player that was snubbed from the list is young Blues prospect Patrik Berglund. While Berglund is not enjoying the best season (6-5—11), he did register 21 goals and 26 assists in 76 games played in 2008-09 as a NHL rookie. His speed and passing only compliment his size (6'4” 215 lbs.).
It is obvious that Gustafsson wanted to go with a more veteran lineup, but the addition of Forsberg is questionable to say the least. Gustafsson has publicly stated that “there shouldn't be any problems with the injury.” Even though the 36-year old center has reportedly made progress in his injury, this may not be the right decision.
The current 2010 Swedish roster includes the following:
Jonas Gustavsson (Toronto Maple Leafs; NHL), Stefan Liv (HV 71; SEL), Henrik Lundqvist (New York Rangers; NHL)
Tobias Enstrom (Atlanta Thrashers; NHL), Magnus Johansson (Linkopings HC; SEL), Niklas Kronwall (Detroit Red Wings; NHL), Nicklas Lidstrom (Detroit Red Wings; NHL), Douglas Murray (San Jose Sharks; NHL), Johnny Oduya (New Jersey Devils; NHL), Henrik Tallinder (Buffalo Sabres; NHL), Mattias Ohlund (Tampa Bay Lightning; NHL)
Daniel Alfredsson (Ottawa Senators; NHL), Nicklas Backstrom (Washington Capitals; NHL), Loui Eriksson (Dallas Stars; NHL), Peter Forsberg (Modo Hockey; SEL), Tomas Holmstrom (Detroit Red Wings; NHL), Patric Hornqvist (Nashville Predators; NHL), Fredrik Modin (Columbus Blue Jackets; NHL), Samuel Pahlsson (Columbus Blue Jackets; NHL), Daniel Sedin (Vancouver Canucks; NHL), Henrik Sedin (Vancouver Canucks; NHL), Mattias Weinhandl (Dynamo Moscow; KHL), Henrik Zetterberg (Detroit Red Wings; NHL)