Tanguay welcomes Forsberg

RANDY SPORTAK, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 4:40 PM ET

CALGARY - When Peter Forsberg skated his way to the Hart Memorial Trophy as the NHL’s MVP and the Art Ross Trophy as the top scorer in 2002-03, Alex Tanguay was enjoying the ride at shotgun.

Tanguay had the best view of Forsberg’s heroics, skating on his wing when the Swede racked up 29 goals and 106 points.

Although they’ll now be on opposing sides of any future Northwest Division battles, Tanguay was happy to hear his old friend will be back playing in the NHL soon.

“We’ll be watching him,” Tanguay said after Monday’s morning skate.

“It’s always been a treat to watch him on the ice. He’s very spectacular and makes it entertaining for the fans. I’m curious to see how productive he’s going to be, but given the talent he has, I think he can be a very good player in this league.”

Forsberg, 37, signed with the Avalanche on the weekend, having — he hopes — finally found the solution to his foot and heel issues.

He is expected to be playing by the end of this week.

The Flames play in Denver next Monday.

“I don’t want to wish him bad, but hopefully he’s going to stay away from us,” Tanguay said.

Forsberg, who racked up 885 points in 706 regular-season games for Colorado, Philadelphia and Nashville, battled injuries for the past few years.

The Avalanche, who were 12th in the Western Conference prior to Monday’s action, are hoping he can regain some of his old magic.

“I don’t know if there’s anybody I’ve seen that I can describe to be exactly like him,” Tanguay said of Forsberg, who was blessed with great skill, especially while passing, and size. “(Sidney) Crosby’s maybe not as physical but a better skater than Peter — Peter has never been the overly gifted skater — but it’s similar.

“You want to take away his time and space, because if he’s got time, he’ll make the passes. When we play him, hopefully we’ll take away his time and space.”

Brendan Morrison spent many seasons going up against Forsberg, especially while he was a top-line centre for the Vancouver Canucks.

“Him and Joe Sakic. That was a lot of fun,” Morrison said jokingly. “I really admire him as a player. I loved to watch him. He was a guy who could control the tempo of the game with the way he sees the ice is remarkable.

“He can hold on to the puck a whole shift and you find yourself chasing him the whole time and saying, ‘Give it up to somebody, please.’ He’s pretty relentless.

“I hope he can stay healthy and hope he plays well, even though he’s with Colorado, a team we’re battling with.”

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