DENVER (AP) - Peter Forsberg’s nagging right foot halted his career once and for all.
In a teary farewell Monday, the usually even-tempered Forsberg paused several times to fight back emotions as he pulled the plug on his latest comeback attempt after playing just two games with the Colorado Avalanche.
The former NHL MVP has been plagued by a chronic foot ailment since 2003, robbing him of chunks of his career.
A week ago, he signed a $1 million prorated deal to play the rest of the season for the team he helped lead to two Stanley Cup titles.
After an initial visa delay, Forsberg suited up in two road games with Colorado last week, scoring no points in more than 35 minutes of ice time.
With the foot giving him fits again, the 37-year-old reached the decision Sunday to step away.
At least he finally had the closure he was craving.
“I’m really happy that I got the chance with the Avalanche to come back here and try for the last time and put an end to it,” said Forsberg, who will have his No. 21 sweater retired by the team at some point next season. “Knowing for fact, 100 percent sure, that I’m not going to play anymore.
“When I look back, I’m going to be feeling pretty good about my career.”
His teammates were caught off guard by his abrupt decision. Captain Adam Foote even had a long chat with Forsberg on the plane ride home from Nashville and never once did the Swedish star bring up his troublesome foot.
“I’m surprised because of the way he played. I thought he played really good,” Foote said of his longtime teammate. “Obviously, he thinks after the two games he’s not going to be able to help us moving forward.
“As far as me selfishly, I want to say, ‘Yeah, you can help us. I saw the way you played.’ But if his foot is that bad and hurting him, that’s a problem I can’t fix or he probably can’t fix. That’s got to be frustrating for him.”
That foot has befuddled Forsberg for years. He has tried everything to get it right _ undergone more surgeries than he can remember, attempted to use different types of skates and experimented with an assortment of braces.
Yet the foot still feels as if it’s constantly slipping and sliding inside the skate, a predicament that surfaced in the ‘03 playoffs and has annoyed him ever since.