Theo Fleury, all 5’6″ of him, which is an inch shorter than both Brian Gionta and Henri Richard, is hoping to make a comeback with the team where he found his greatest glory, the Calgary Flames. He’s been sober for four years now and feels he’s ready to go. And we’ll see soon enough if he’s ready to go or not.
What I remember most about Theoren Fleury, when I lived in Calgary, was this: the fans loved him, he had a gorgeous wife, and he played like he was six foot two. He fought for the puck in corners with guys he only came up to their shoulder pads with; he dropped the gloves with bigger guys, he checked hard and was a strong little bugger. He was a bonafide star on some excellent, star-laden Calgary Flames teams.
This is a guy who’s a shining example of a small guy doing just fine, thank you very much, and why so-called hockey experts who say Montreal has small forwards and that’s a bad thing are just blowing smoke. Small guys can play in the NHL, as long as they play like big guys. And as long as most of them are forwards and not defencemen.
Montreal isn’t even that small. Sure, new guys like 5’7″ Gionta and Mike Cammalleri at 5’9″ have brought the average down a little, but they’re also gritty players who carry on the tradition of good, small guys like Henri Richard, who no one messed with, Dave Keon, and of course, Fleury.
Just buy one of those sponge bricks and when you hear broadcasters and reporters ramble on about Montreal being too small, throw the brick at your screen. They’re full of it. Or, if you’re sitting behind them at the rink, throw a real brick.
Theo Fleury’s chances are only slim that he’ll find a spot on the Flames roster, but I’m pulling for him. He’s been through a lot and wants to get back. He’s a tough guy who beat the odds in real life, just like he did on the ice. And good for the Flames for at least giving him a shot.