It is funny how history is recorded sometimes.
Take the careers of Eric Lindros and Peter Forsberg. The two were similar players and their fates were forever intertwined even before either player made it to the NHL.
While Lindros will go down in the minds of many as a great disappointment highlighted by enduring controversies and unfulfilled expectations, Forsberg will go down as one of hockey's greatest warriors.
That's quite a difference in legacy considering the two had remarkably similar careers.
Here's the tale of the tape:
|Art Ross Trophy
There really isn't a whole lot of difference between the two. There was just six points difference between them. Both missed a ton of time due to their immense physical style of play which resulted deteriorating bodies betraying each of them.
And, most importantly, both flirted with being the game's most dominant player for periods of time.
The comparisons were inevitable of course. Lindros, the NHL's favorite villain, refused to report to the Quebec Nordiques and forced a trade. A trade with Philadelphia was eventually completed, headlining Forsberg, who was drafted 6 spots behind Lindros in 1991, as part of a huge package going to Quebec. From that moment on, the two men were inexorably linked.
The biggest differing point between the two is Stanley Cup championships. Forsberg and transplanted Nordiques won two while in Colorado. Lindros never did win a title, despite all of his efforts.
I think the Stanley Cup argument is a bit overblown. Yes, Forsberg was one of the greatest players in Stanley Cup history. But his three championships were aided by Joe Sakic, who some say is better than Forsberg. And then there was Patrick Roy, hailed as the greatest playoff goalie of all time. Lindros never had the supporting cast that Forsberg had.
When it comes right down to it, I say there is little to choose between Eric Lindros and Peter Forsberg. Lindros was always easy to dislike, which helps to stain his legacy. Forsberg's legacy is, in my opinion, a bit overrated if only due to the great supporting cast he enjoyed.
In reality, they had pretty equal careers, though history will suggest otherwise.
But I guess when it comes right down to it, if I were coaching and I had to choose only one of these two players to win game 7 with, I'd choose Forsberg because of his status as a playoff hero.