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Bringing Hexy Back • 42 Years Old • Male

Foppa Doppa Doo Dah

Posted 12:21 PM ET | Comments 15
Well, according to the master of all things European hockey, Bill Meltzer, Peter Forsberg will be skating at full tilt within two to three weeks and says this is the last chance for a comeback.

Forsberg's name has bounced around a bit, but all indications are that he will rejoin the Philadelphia Flyers if he decides to continue his NHL career. Assuming that comes to fruition, that leaves Flyers head coach John Stevens with an interesting situation...who goes to make room for Foppa?

There are a few things that have to be taken for granted if he does return. The first is that he'd be playing on a line with Simon Gagne. The second is that he'd have to work off a nice bit of rust. The third is, some deserving Flyer would lose ice time.

I have been critical of Forsberg on this site, and I am on the fence about a possible comeback. There are a lot of good and bad scenarios that could occur.

First the good stuff:
Forsberg is an elite level playmaker and stronger on the puck than just about anyone you could name. I mean, there are guys that can maintain control of the puck after getting hit, but how many other guys initiate contact when they have the puck?

Forsberg is also a good face-off man, and dependable defensive player. He plays the game with a bit of anger and a lot of swagger. On the right team, that rubs off and makes the whole team better.

Forsberg also has a lot of guys he is friendly with in the locker room-Gagne and Knuble for starters, but also guys he played with in Nashville, like Kimmo Timonen and Scott Hartnell.

Now the questionable stuff:
Last season, Forsberg was a soap opera, because of the constant foot isssues and trade rumors. It massively affected the younger guys on the team, most of whom-Mike Richards, Jeff carter and RJ Umberger-really started playing a LOT better after Foppa was traded to Nashville.

If Forsberg seems OK and returns, what happens if he re-injures the foot? Does that injury take on a life of it's own once again? Does it become a major distraction for the team?

Next, who sits and loses time because Forsberg is back? Richards has become an all star and every winger who has spent time on his line this season has improved their offensive production. Carter is having a great bounce-back year-on pace for a 30 goal season and playing a great all around game. Danny Briere, the guy signed to replace Forsberg as the number one center has had, by his own admission, an up and down season. But Briere isn't big enough or good enough defensively to play a third line role and his big contract makes it impossible.

The logical assumption is that Carter moves to the wing. However, Carter has struggled at wing during brief auditions in the past. He seems a lot more comfortable at center, and honestly, is a good face-off man. Richards is not moving to a wing, although, I am sure he'd readily agree to do so. But he's the closest thing to a shut down center the Flyers have.

Perhaps Briere could shift to a scoring line winger's role. A line of Gagne-Forsberg-Briere or even Upshall-Carter-Briere could be deadly and offer match-up nightmares to opposing coaches. However, even that could be a mistake, because it leaves guys like Mike Knuble, Joffrey Lupul(when he returns from injury), Sami Kapanen and Steve Downie in awkward spots, as far as playing time and roles go.

Another worry I have is that adding Forsberg doesn't address the real issues the team faces, such as team defense, the somewhat poorly matched defense corps, and the very real possibility that the team still lacks a bona fide number one goalie.

If they add Forsberg, they have precious little cap space to address other needs.

This one has me really sitting on the fence.
Filed Under:   Jsaq   Forsberg   Flyers   Foppa  
January 14, 2008 12:39 PM ET | Delete
Sami Kapanen will play any position, anywhere, any-time. The guy will do anything you ask of him. God I miss him...
January 14, 2008 12:46 PM ET | Delete
Bravo! Couldn't have said it better myself, Jsaq!
January 14, 2008 12:47 PM ET | Delete
Well written, JS. I'm generally of a mind that you make room for a player of Forsberg's talent. How that gets done would definitely be a big challenge (one of several this year) for John Stevens and his staff. I don't think Forsberg would make Philly an instant Cup contender. The issues on D and in goal would certainly remain, despite the increase in firepower (and, for once, POSITIVE publicity). They're gonna do what they're gonna do, so I'll just wait and see if/how it goes. *shrug*
January 14, 2008 12:48 PM ET | Delete
Yes, but unfortunately, if it comes down to it, Kappy will be the odd-man-out. I doubt he'll be waived, but he'll likely be a healthy scratch or traded. He's a veteran whose point production has be nil this year... I love his aggression, though. He was going up against Chara against Boston. Guy has no fear...
January 14, 2008 12:50 PM ET | Delete
Well, and from what I saw at the Capitals game yesterday, the Flyers lack aggression on defense. It seems we're afraid to make a move on the puck. The worst part though, was they were playing the player. Only Mike Richards seemed to be able to take away passing lanes. Jim Dowd did it a little, too. We don't really cycle, it's like a zone defense, and it doesn't seem to limit the oppositions shots much...
January 14, 2008 1:11 PM ET | Delete
Nice job JS, I am with you. Some of these questions may be answered in whoever gets moved to fit Forsberg under the cap.
January 14, 2008 1:52 PM ET | Delete
Great commentary...you make some excellent points. I share your feelings. I'm on the fence too on this one. The potential is awesome if he's healthy and adding him does not upset the chemistry in the room. Not that Peter would do anything to upset anyone, but as you say, simply by adding him other things will have to change and this season the room seems to be pretty good from a chemistry standpoint.But if he comes back and has issues, especially if they wind up moving some young talent to get him under the cap, then we are looking at another round of "As the Ankle Turns", and I'm not sure I can stomach that again.
January 14, 2008 1:55 PM ET | Delete
Besides, what number would Gator wear?
January 14, 2008 2:29 PM ET | Delete
I think this team can survive Forsberg if the ankle flares up again. I also believe Forsberg plays on someones wing if he comes back. Preferably with a sniper like Carter. His skill set will still come through from either position. He can slow the game down for a guy like Carter who needs to get open for some monster one timers. Forsberg is the master. It is intriguing. Imagine if you will:Gagne, Briere, LupulHartnell, Richards, DownieForsberg, Carter, UmbergerCote/Upshall, Dowd, KapanenWhere is Knuble you may ask? I think he is moved.
January 14, 2008 5:31 PM ET | Delete
Wouldnt it be funny if we signed him and then traded him at the deadline for Weber or someone like him.
January 14, 2008 8:29 PM ET | Delete
I doubt he has much impact (if any) anywhere. Guys, he hasn't even been CLEARED to skate yet. IF in 3 weeks he is cleared just to skate, how long before he is game ready? Then all we are left with is the same old soap opera we had before he went back to Sweden....is the foot 100%, does he need more time, etc, etc. Just my humble opinion but i think it's a whole lotta talk with zero substance at this point.
January 14, 2008 10:41 PM ET | Delete
drama, drama and more drama; the Flyers dont need any more of it; didnt we have enough of it last season.... if he cant name the Flyers as one of the top teams to which he is considering, then he learned nothing while he was here in Philly, and quite honestly, i dont want him here.... he can take his bad batch of sticks, 100,000,000 pairs of skates, weak feet, groins, abdomen, back and head, along with his crappy team attitude somewhere else.... i dont want him any where near this team, and messing with the chemistry and winning spirit in the lockeroom....
January 15, 2008 12:55 AM ET | Delete
'Number23', I have it from a good source that Gator would take #23 -- ironic, is it not? -- He was poised to take it when Foppa was looking like he was coming back earlier, and Goats was to give his number up, if he had made the team... If you notice Vandermeer was not assigned #23 when he was obtained; he had that number with Chicago, as well as the first Flyers go around... and yet he was not assigned the number even though it was open with Gauthier with the Phantoms, most likely to stay... I have well placed insider info that Foppa will again have #21, and gator will switch to #23; trust me on this.
January 15, 2008 8:44 AM ET | Delete
Jsaq, very well done. i would rather have a big body who can win f/o's and board battles and/or a steadier dman. w/ the cap, it's all about allocation of resources. if we are building for a cup run of several yrs, forsberg doesn't fit because the aforementioned needs would still have to be met. to try and do all of this in one yr is a fool's errand. let foppa take footpa elsewhere please.
January 19, 2008 9:15 PM ET | Delete
foppa if he is stays healthy he can be dominate force but I just don't think he can
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