No Favour for Fleury
James Mirtle provides a list of former NHL players trying out at training camps around the league. The headliner is, of course Theo Fleury in Calgary. As Mirtle indicates, few have much of a chance to extend their careers.
Let’s face it – these players are for the most part nothing more than cannon fodder, bodies designed to help the team make a few extra dollars with a pre-season so grueling it is crazy. The league deserves criticism for the exhibition season and the practice of bringing in warm bodies to stick in NHL uniforms for pretend games. (Like they really played an NHL game in Terrace last night.)
I assume, however, that guys like Dave Scatchard, Mark Parrish and Ronald Petrovicky know the score. They are being exploited, but they know it and its their choice. If about six guys get badly hurt in the next couple of weeks, one of them might win a temporary job. It is the fans, not the players on a tryout who are getting ripped off.
All that said, I wish the Calgary Flames had chosen not to let Theo Fleury back in an NHL camp. I don’t think it can possibly end well for him. I’m really happy that he has apparently managed to get his demons under control, but those demons have not gone away. What Fleury surely needs are more small victories off the ice. He does not need to pour his heart into the longest of a longshot. Even if he manages to beat the nearly impossible odds and makes the team, he re-enters an environment that involves immense pressure and constant temptations. It cannot be good for him.
He’s a tough little hockey player – one of my all time favourite opponents – but he is not an emotionally healthy person. I can see how this is a feel good story for the Flames and for the fans, but I don’t think it will work out to be a feel good story for Theo Fleury. I wish the Flames had passed.
I also hope Theo proves me wrong.