December 27, 2009

Now It's Tre Kronor's Turn

Forsberg, Lidstrom headline Sweden selections

Just yesterday I was complaining bitterly about the lack of respect in sports. The World Junior Championships are going on, and Canada ran up the score against Latvia 16-0. And people wonder why head shots are a problem in the NHL these days....

On the flip side is this - Peter Forsberg being named to the Swedish Olympic team. To be honest, I'm not at all sure how he's playing right now. I was at Modo's website just last night, but I'd gotten distracted before I looked up statistics. I'd gotten as far as the roster, and that was about it.

Still, I'm not sure that having Forsberg on the team is a good call. If he's playing well, then obviously it is. Forsberg is still a great player when on his game and healthy. However, if he's not, and this is simply a gesture of respect, then maybe they're being too respectful.

He's done some fantastic things for Swedish hockey on the international stage. He scored the gold medal winning goal in the last Olympics when it was amateurs-only in 1992, putting Sweden on the map as a force to be reckoned with. And he was a part of the gold medal winning team (when perhaps he shouldn't have been) in 2006. He's won just about every trophy there is between international hockey tournaments and the NHL

The only current NHL player that could perhaps compare to Forsberg in his prime is Alexander Ovechkin.

But there is such a thing as being too respectful. If having an aging player on your team is a detriment, then he shouldn't play. Which I am not saying that Forsberg is right now, since I just don't know, but in the last Olympics he kind of was. He shouldn't have been named to the team then, and he shouldn't have been played - and that was four years ago.

Don't get me wrong. I respect the hell out of Forsberg and his ability. But it's time to face facts. Dude, you're old for an athlete (but not old for the average person - nice double standard there, huh?). You should've hung them up years ago. Seriously. Move on.

Not that he will. He'll play in the Olympics with something to prove. And he should. Because he does have something to prove - he has to prove that Sweden didn't only pick him out of nostalgia and respect.

Regardless, it'll be good to see him play again - if only for this tournament. And in Vancouver, no less. Funny how things turn out, isn't it?

But then, I guess Russia did name Sergei Fedorov to their roster. But Fedorov's just old, not perpetually injured on top of that. Still, I'll be glad to see him play again, too. Fedorov & Forsberg are two of my favorite players.

Official Olympic rosters that have been released for all of the participating countries can be found HERE.

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