How Crazy Would It Be For The Rangers To Give Theo Fleury a Chance?
Well folks, it's time for that weekly piece of shocking speculation. Darren Dreger of TSN is reporting that Theo Fleury is attempting an NHL comeback.
The former Flame, Avalanche, Ranger, and Blackhawk has reportedly been sober for the last four seasons, and has been skating daily in hopes that a team will invite him to training camp this coming season (Hello Sather reclamation project).
Dreger also goes on to say that, "Those close to him say he didn’t leave the National Hockey League the way he wanted, which is fueling his desire to return."
We all remember how Fleury's career in the NHL ended. He was basically disgraced out of not returning. The veteran winger had an amazing career, perhaps Hall of Fame worthy, were it not for his alcohol addiction and his behavior on the ice during his later years.
Fleury scored 455 goals and 633 assists for 1088 points in 1084 games. That also includes eight seasons with 30 goals or more and even more impressive, 12 seasons of 20 or more goals.
The Oxbow, Saskatchewan native was known for his blazing speed and immense skill even though he was one of the shortest players in the league, measuring in at 5' 6''.
I may be biased on the subject because Fleury was a favorite player of mine during his time with the Rangers. I own everything of his, from his cards and plaques to a bobblehead doll, but I really think the Rangers should and will consider giving him an invite to training camp.
He is 41 years old, and it will be argued that he is too old, most likely by the same people who wanted Shanahan back as a Ranger (even though they know he can't skate, and his career is done).
Fleury was always a good skater. Given his small stature, if he stayed in shape over these last few years, he most likely still has some jump in his step.
If you look back on all he has done in his career, not including the negative aspects, it's fair to say that this addition would be more meaningful than that of Shanahan.
Fleury played on the power play, killed penalties, and even set the Rangers' franchise record for shorthanded goals scored when he netted seven in the 2000/01 season.
He was also the ultimate agitator, one of the first true pain-in-the-asses to play against. Fleury also fights, and always stuck up for his teammates despite his short size. He also had a great personality, always there with a joke, and if he can stay sober, his Stanley Cup winning experience will be more than welcome in the Ranger locker room.
One last thing to ponder; imagine that you're Martin Brodeur of the Devils and you're standing in your crease waiting for the Rangers to rush up ice. Then you see Avery coming down on one wing and Fleury on the other. I can't say what would be going through your mind, but I know it won't be happy thoughts.
Greg Caggiano is a writer on Bleacher Report covering the New York Rangers. He has a New York area sports teams blog called Metro-Sports, where you can read great articles about all professional sports teams that play in the area by a dedicated team of young writers.
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