Now usually I am not a fan of players returning to the NHL after a lengthy absence, especially when that player is over 40 and his best years are most likely behind him.
But then, as I was checking out of my room in Calgary last week, I looked down and saw a headline in the morning paper that stated Theoren Fleury was attempting a comeback.
Now as a huge Theoren Fleury fan needless to say my initial reaction was excitement. That was later replaced by an apprehensive feeling that it would be a tough road back to play at the elite level of the NHL.
Fleury looked decent skating at Father David Bauer Arena in Calgary last week, there with other NHLer's such as Calgary Flames defenseman Corey Sarich who said "he still had good hands."
Apparently he is in excellent shape, ten pounds lighter than the last time he played in the NHL, and has been sober for 4 years.
But for this comeback to work it is up to the chips to all fall in the right places.
First, Gary Bettman has to grant Fleury's return to the league, something that all things considered should be a no-brainer after all he has brought to the game and the fact his life has truly turned a corner.
Second, Fleury has to be ready mentally and physically to handle the rigors of an NHL season, and for anyone who has seen him talk about this you can see he is intensely driven on making a return and believes he is very capable of doing so.
Third, The Flames would have to be on board to offer him a tryout as this won't work with any other team. Do we really want to see Theoren Fleury suit up with the Nashville Predators or Tampa Bay Lightning next season?
That being said, the Flames Brent Sutter did take in some of Fleury's workout session last week and they do have room for another veteran presence as they are filled with a roster of youngsters for this upcoming season.
It should be interesting to watch how this all plays out, but if Claude Lemiuex can comeback for 18 games at 43 years of age, and the Rolling Stones can continue to rock at 60, well, don't put it past Theoren Fleury to make a successful return to the NHL. After all, he wasn't considered to make it in the first place outta junior, and he proved everybody wrong then too.
Good Luck Theo!
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