STOCKHOLM, Sweden -- While the NHL tries to sort out its
labor problems, Peter Forsberg is set on his plans. The Colorado Avalanche star will play in Sweden, even if part of the NHL season can be salvaged.
Forsberg, the 2002 NHL MVP, signed a one-year contract with Modo
and will join a long line of other Swedish NHL players returning to
the Elite League following the owners' lockout.
"It feels best this way," Forsberg said at news conference in
his native Ornskoldsvik. "I've always said that I'll play one more
year for Modo Hockey, and now we're here."
Forsberg, one of Sweden's most popular athletes, grew up playing
for Modo's junior teams. His contract with the Avalanche expired
this summer, making him an unrestricted free agent. He left the
window open for an NHL return.
"I wouldn't say the circle has been completed," said Forsberg,
31. "We'll see what happens later."
Forsberg said he most likely will play in the Elite League
opener Tuesday. He will be joined in Modo by Vancouver's Sedin twins, Henrik and
Daniel; Mattias Weinhandl of the New York
Islanders; and Pierre Hedin of Toronto. Vancouver's Markus Naslund,
one of Forsberg's childhood friends, and Montreal's Niklas Sundstrom are expected to join their former club.
Forsberg's father, Kent Forsberg, will coach the team, which
immediately becomes a favorite to win the league.
"Not many in my position are fortunate enough to put the
world's best player on their roster," said Bengt Hedin, Modo's