August 14, 2009

Peter Forsberg

I don't usually watch videos like this. The cheesy music and commentary are enough to drive me mad. But Peter Forsberg is probably my all-time favorite hockey player, so when I stumbled across this I had to watch it. Particularly since I haven't seen him play for a long while.

The first time I saw Forsberg was in New Jersey. It was his rookie season with the Qu├ębec Nordiques. I remember more about warmups than I do the game, tho. Even still, I'd heard all about his infamous Olympic goal against Canada in the last Olympics when hockey was only for amateurs, and I was curious. Although, my sister Jill was far more interested in seeing him play than I was at the time.

Just watching this video really brings back why I liked Forsberg. Sure, he had a wicked backhand and could make insane passes. And yeah, he wasn't afraid to take a lot of abuse and play physical. And trying to knock him off his skates or the puck was pretty much impossible. But the real reason that I liked Forsberg was because he wasn't afraid to play a little bit dirty. Not badly, but that edge he had really made him a very effective hockey player.

He did take the occasional dive. Anyone who watched him, and is totally honest about it, knows that. And he was definitely a little free with his elbows. But, you know, it wasn't because he was out to hurt anyone. It's just that he wanted to win so much that he took advantage of the opportunities that presented themselves. And if elbowing a guy early in the game made him back off just a little bit later on, then all the better.

I guess the real reason why I liked him so much - if I'm going to be truly honest about this - is because that's how I used to play sports. I could identify with what he was doing. I was never the best player out there, but I wasn't afraid to put myself into physical situations and I did play a little dirty. It was psychological warfare. The real trick is to not take it too far. And Forsberg rarely did.

Want to know the funniest thing about this video? It's mostly goal scoring. Forsberg never thought of himself as a goal scorer. He was a passer - the guy who set up plays. He usually had twice as many assists as he did goals. He really didn't shoot all that much. So this is why people told him his entire career that he should shoot more.

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