Devon O’Neil: If Forsberg and Avs get in, they’re a threat |

Devon O’Neil: If Forsberg and Avs get in, they’re a threat

While all the craze in the NBA lately has been about old faces in new places, the biggest late-season move in the NHL was the return of one of its greats from an overseas holiday.

Since the Avs lured Peter Forsberg out of retirement late last month, the obvious question has been how much of a difference he’ll make on a club that really isn’t that terrific to begin with (sort of like if Clemens had joined the Brewers last summer).

Colorado has won six of its last seven to climb to the No. 7 spot in the Western Conference playoff race (eight teams make it; seven are within 10 points of the final spot), holding a two-point edge over its closest pursuers. But the Avs are still a below-.500 team on the road, which is where six of the team’s final 12 games will be played.

As for Peter the Great, he’s got two assists in three games thus far, and he just went down with a bum groin that will probably nag him the rest of the season. That said, the key for Colorado is the same as it is for any hockey or hoops team this time of year: Get in to the party.

The Avs didn’t spend all that time courting Forsberg to help them win regular-season games. They brought him in to get hot when it counts, something that’s easy to foresee given his past.

Perhaps most notably in this case, with all the upset-minded spring attention focused on college hoops, people sometimes forget how often a lower seed makes a run in the NHL playoffs. …

I know it was inappropriate for PGA Tour pro Tripp Isenhour to hit a golf ball at a hawk last December, an incident that hit the news last week after Isenhour was charged in a Florida court with cruelty to animals for killing the bird with one of his shots (he said he was only trying to scare the hawk away because its squawks were interfering with the instructional video he was filming).

But I also wonder if, just for a moment, the PGA marketing folks considered the TV commercial possibility: Isenhour takes aim, nails the hawk, watches it fall 30 feet to the ground; then the screen fades to black and we’re reminded, once more: “These guys really are good.” …

Just a sick, sick idea, I agree. …

Speaking of, it’s been a rough season on the men’s alpine World Cup. First the tour lost its brightest star, defending overall champion Aksel Lund Svindal, to a horrifying crash at Beaver Creek in November that ended his season; then, nine days ago, Austrian Matthias Lanziger, 27, snapped his lower leg so badly that doctors had to cut it off to save his life. It’s a perilous game they play at those speeds. …

The Raiders have made some stupid decisions in recent years (Exhibit A: signing Warren Sapp for huge money when everyone else knew he was done), but only time will tell if their latest is their stupidest. No way you give Javon Walker a six-year, $55 million contract ” with $16 million guaranteed ” when he’s been so injury prone throughout his career. …

Lost in the hoopla over Bode Miller and Lindsey Vonn closing in on an American World Cup title sweep has been the seasons put together by Ted Ligety and Julia Mancuso. Ligety stands fifth overall (and No. 1 in the GS standings) and Mancuso is seventh as they enter Cup finals this week in Bormio. …

In parting, Brett Favre has always seemed vulnerable to the same ills that threaten the rest of the human race, which is why he’s more popular than just about anyone in America. But never did he seem so human as when he told us last week that he was saying goodbye to football. Favre’s legend is only going to grow.

” Breckenridge resident Devon O’Neil’s $0.02 column runs on Tuesdays. He can be reached at

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