Can I call you Foppa? Nicknames are for pals, and I feel like we've known each other for so long -- and since this is a one-sided conversation, I'll stick with it. So apparently, you're giving it the old skate with your buddies in Modo. And there's the annual whispers of whether or not Peter Forsberg will play again.
From one friend to another, here me now and believe me later: please stop.
I'm assuming you lived in America long enough to know the old standards, so when I say you gotta know when to hold 'em, etc., etc., you'll know what I'm talking about. Or perhaps a more appropriate line is from the ever-eloquent Steven Patrick Morrissey:
How can they look into my eyes and still they don't believe me? How can they hear me say those words and still they don't believe me? And, if they don't believe me now, will they ever believe me?
-The Smiths, The Boy With The Thorn In His Side
You see, Foppa, I want to remember you at your best. I'm sure Colorado Avalanche fans feel the same way, and I'm sure there are some Philadelphia Flyers fans as well. For me, I'm neither of those, but I've always considered you one of my favorite players -- and coming from San Jose Sharks territory, that's a very unpopular thing to say. In fact, on my first date with my now-wife, she told me that you were her most hated player.
I consider myself one of your biggest supporters and even I fought off the instincts to roll my eyes when I heard that you were skating. I may just be one hockey blogger on the other side of the world, but I hope you appreciate what that means -- even I've become a cynic. I supported you during your last NHL comeback, I cheered you on during the 2010 Olympics, but now it's time to say goodbye.
I suppose what I'm trying to say is that sometimes, enough is enough. I'm sorry, but I don't believe you anymore and it's just time to let it go.
Now I know you'd like to go out on your own terms. I know it's not fair that your feet haven't worked with the rest of your body, and your ability to think the game is still there. That sucks for you, that sucks for us, that sucks for hockey in general. We were robbed of your unique abilities early. I remember getting into a grand debate in college with my hockey buddies about how ESPN Magazine called you The Ultimate Player, and damn it, you really were that in your prime. You hit, you scored, you passed, you played defense, and you scared the bejesus out of the opposition.
Think of the highlights: the amazing passing, the tough-as-nails board work, the trick shots, and the puck-possession -- oh, the puck possession. Sometimes it seemed like the TV crew had slipped on an old Bobby Orr highlight. Try as they might, those defenseman simply couldn't knock you off the puck. It was a thing of beauty, and that's how we want to remember you.
I know you may feel like giving it one more try with Modo, but how many times have we heard this now? It's not the way it's supposed to be, but that's the harsh reality of it. Despite being robbed by injuries, you've still got a hockey career that few can match. Is there a reason to give it one more chance? It can't be money; you've never been the money-grubbing type and besides, you've certainly got plenty of it (despite that failed Crocs investment; we'll just pretend that never happened). If it was money you were after, I'm sure your agent would be calling the KHL but that doesn't seem to be happening.
So I'm sure it's about personal pride and love of the game. But to us outsiders, love of the game means letting it go. Let us remember this Peter Forsberg, not the guy who kept hanging on. Let your legacy be the guy who won two Stanley Cups and dominated the league for much of the 1990s and early 2000s, not the guy who has become a running joke among hockey fans.
You had your opportunity for your storybook ending with Team Sweden, and unfortunately, it didn't pan out. I think that's fate telling you something. And as difficult as it may be to accept, all I can say is this: dude...seriously...it's time. Really. Really, really this time. Please.
Unless you want to play for a beer-league team in San Jose. Then by all means, give me a call.