The 2003-04 season could be the NHL finale for the 30-year-old
Forsberg, who intends eventually to play for MoDo back home in
Ornskoldsvik, Sweden, if he stays healthy.
For now, the main concern of the reigning Hart Trophy winner and
NHL scoring champion is helping the Avalanche push past its
first-round playoff loss to the Minnesota Wild last season.
The defeat was one of the factors in Forsberg's decision to sign
a one-year, $11 million contract.
Forsberg has had serious injuries throughout his career. He
underwent surgery to remove a ruptured spleen in May 2001 after the
Avalanche defeated Los Angeles in the second round of the playoffs,
and he sat out the 2001-02 regular season because of ankle problems
that required two operations before he returned for the playoffs.
"It was a struggle," he said.
"Of course, losing in the first round is not the way you want
to leave, either," said Forsberg. "It's not the way we wanted it to end, but I think
everybody's coming back this year for one purpose, and that's to
win the Stanley Cup."
Forsberg said he feels better than ever following his elbow
surgery in May. Even after playing for Sweden in the World
"I feel really healthy, and it's been a long time since I've
felt that way the whole summer," he said.
Avalanche to retire Roy's No. 33: Also in Avalanche news, the team will retire goaltender
Patrick Roy's No. 33 in a pregame ceremony at the Calgary-Colorado
game Oct. 28.
Roy announced his retirement on May 28 after 19 record-setting
NHL seasons. His NHL regular-season records include most wins
(551), most 30-plus win seasons (13), most games played (1,029) and
most minutes played (60,235).
"By retiring Patrick Roy's No. 33, we're acknowledging the
greatest goaltender ever to play in the National Hockey League,"
Avalanche president and general manager Pierre Lacroix said
Roy was the career leader in every franchise goalie category,
including wins (262), goals against average (2.26), shutouts (37),
games played (478) and minutes played (28,317).
Roy's No. 33 will be the second sweater number to be retired in
the nine-year history of the Avalanche and the sixth retired number
in the history of the franchise, which began as the Quebec
Nordiques. Ray Bourque's No. 77 was retired after the 2001 season.
Minnesota Wild: Defenseman Chris McAlpine signed a
one-year contract on Thursday.
McAlpine played in 21 games for the Los Angeles Kings last
season before hernia surgery ended his year.
The 6-foot-1, 215-pound defenseman had six goals, 24 assists and
245 penalty minutes in 289 career NHL games with New Jersey, St.
Louis, Tampa Bay, Atlanta, Chicago and Los Angeles.
The Roseville native was selected by the New Jersey Devils in
the seventh round of the 1990 draft. McAlpine played four seasons
at the University of Minnesota.
Terms of the contract were not released.
Abid, 23, appeared in just three games with the Penguins and went
scoreless with two penalty minutes. He played in 30 games with Phoenix last
season, collecting 18 points and 30 penalty minutes. He also had 15 goals and 10 assists with 50 penalty minutes in 27 games with Springfield of the American Hockey League.
Calgary Flames: The Flames brought back their oldest player Thursday, re-signing unrestricted free-agent left wing Dave Lowry.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Lowry, 38, enters his fourth season with the Flames, who signed
him as a free agent in July 2000. In 175 games with Calgary,
Lowry has 30 goals and 37 assists.
Lowry brings a veteran presence to a team built on youth. The
Flames begin the season with at least eight players born in 1978
In 1,066 regular-season games over 18 seasons, Lowry has 163
goals and 186 assists. He helped Florida to the Stanley Cup
Finals in 1995-96 and also has played for Vancouver, St. Louis
and San Jose.
Samsonov did not practice with the team Thursday when it opened
Samsonov has 129 goals in six NHL seasons. But he played in only
eight games last season because he had bone graft surgery on his right
wrist in December.
Bruins general manager Mike O'Connell said Samsonov "has been
working out all during the offseason in Michigan, he always keeps
himself in great shape, and he has had no problems with his wrist,
so he should be right on schedule with the rest of his teammates."
He was the NHL's Rookie of the Year in 1997-98, when he had 22
goals and 25 assists after being the eighth pick in the 1997 draft.
Laraque, one of the NHL's top enforcers, signed a three-year
deal and Moreau, a 14-goal scorer last season, a two-year contract.
The Oilers also signed left wing Brad Winchester of the
University of Wisconsin and center Joe Cullen of Colorado College
to two-year contracts.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.