Monday, May 21

Forsberg had ruptured spleen removed May 10
Associated Press

DENVER – Colorado Avalanche forward Peter Forsberg said Monday he expects to miss the rest of the playoffs despite an encouraging recovery from emergency surgery less than two weeks ago.

Peter Forsberg
Forsberg, left, watches Game 5 from a suite with former teammate Eric Lacroix.
"I got told right off the bat when we did the surgery I was not going to play in the playoffs," he said. "It's going to take a while to heal and I don't think it's going to be a possibility."

Forsberg, a six-time All-Star and Swedish Olympian, had surgery to remove his ruptured spleen and stop internal bleeding early on May 10, hours after Colorado defeated the Los Angeles Kings in Game 7 of the Western Conference semifinals.

He was released from the hospital a few days later and was ruled out for the remainder of the playoffs. Doctors said Monday that the situation had changed only slightly.

"Certainly after surgery, we thought there is absolutely no chance he's going to play," Avalanche team doctor David Mellman said. "Today we're saying the chances are very, very minimal. He's done great in terms of returning to life, but it's a huge step going back to hockey."

He said Forsberg should have no problem returning next season.

Without Forsberg, the Avs took a 3-1 series lead over the St. Louis Blues in the conference finals. He has been watching the games on television and planned to attend Game 5 on Monday night.

"The good thing is we're up 3-1," he said. "It would be tougher if we were down 3-1. The team is playing great right now, so that makes it so much easier to watch the game."

It remains a mystery when Forsberg sustained the hit that ruptured his spleen and doctors say they probably never will know.

Forsberg said he noticed a mark near his ribs after Game 5 against Los Angeles on May 4 but did not feel any pain until dining at a downtown restaurant at about 1 a.m. May 10.

Forsberg said the pain was worse than anything he had felt throughout his career.

"We had a couple tough hours there," he said. "I was not really scared because you've got so many doctors around telling you it's going to be fine."

Forsberg, considered one of the league's toughest players to knock off the puck, was Colorado's best player in the postseason. He had a game-winning goal in overtime during the team's first-round sweep of Vancouver and consistently created scoring chances even when the Avalanche went through a 183-minute scoreless span against Los Angeles.

"He does everything real well. He can control a hockey game," Colorado captain Joe Sakic said. "That's where you miss him most."

In Forsberg's absence, the Avs have received unexpected scoring production from their third and fourth lines and maintained the momentum gained from their Game 7 victory over the Kings.

"Peter's the type of guy you miss because he controls the game, he controls the puck," defenseman Adam Foote said. "But there's more guys playing than if Peter was here, and they have to roll lines more. We're getting waves. Everyone's picking up their game. I think that's a positive."

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