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Avalanche’s Forsberg Out for Game 1

April 12, 2000

DENVER (AP) _ It’s official. Colorado Avalanche center Peter Forsberg will not play in Thursday night’s playoff opener against the Phoenix Coyotes as he recovers from a separated right shoulder.

The news comes as little surprise. Forsberg injured the shoulder last Friday against Calgary and did not skate with the team until Monday. He took some shots in practice Wednesday but was held out of contact drills.

``We’re very happy with his progression and so is the medical staff,″ Colorado coach Bob Hartley said. ``We have to wait and see basically in the next couple of days how he’s going to be feeling.″

Forsberg, who missed the first 23 games of the season after surgery on his left shoulder, was injured while being checked into the boards by Calgary defenseman Brad Werenka. He missed nine other games with a hip pointer, concussion and bruised left shoulder.

``The pain is obviously decreasing,″ Hartley said. ``It’s very encouraging. We have to make sure that we do the best thing possible for Peter Forsberg because down the road, it’s going to become the best thing for this organization.″

Forsberg’s nagging injuries have hampered his productivity. He scored 14 goals in 49 games, but he still was one of Colorado’s best passers, recording 37 assists _ third on the team.

``His hands are so electric,″ Phoenix forward Jeremy Roenick said. ``His brain _ he’s one of the smartest players on the ice. He knows where everybody is. He makes the right play at the right time. He even makes the play that you don’t even think that he can make.

``Guys try to check him. He’s so strong on his feet. He’s so powerful. He really throws his body around. He can really hurt some guys. When you combine all that together, there’s no better all-around player in the National Hockey League in my opinion. There’s not one.″

Colorado also may be without defenseman Aaron Miller, who had surgery Monday to repair a broken jaw. He was injured while blocking a puck in Sunday’s season finale against the Detroit Red Wings.

``That’s just the way it goes,″ Miller said after practicing Wednesday. ``You’d do the same thing again. You’re going to dive to try and block the pass. It just hit me like a fluke in the cheek. I kind of wish I hadn’t gone down now, but what are you going to do? It’s not so bad.″

Miller has been living on pasta, protein shakes, apple sauce, yogurt and milkshakes, a diet that could hamper his strength. Hartley said a decision on Miller will be made Thursday. When he returns, Miller will wear a helmet with a face guard resembling the face mask worn by football players.

``Kind of looks like a quarterback,″ he said. ``Jim Kelly back there calling audibles.″

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