Theo Fleury's Comeback Is Over, Retires In Calgary

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Fleury Ends Comeback, Retires As A Flame

After being released by the Calgary Flames last week, Theoren Fleury is retiring as a member of the team he gained his stardom playing for. This from the AP:

The 41-year-old forward has decided to give up his comeback attempt and retire as a member of the Calgary Flames.

“I could not sign with another team,” he said. “I retire a Calgary Flame.”

Fleury last played in the NHL in 2003 and hasn’t played for the the Flames since 1999. After an 11-year stint in Calgary in which the diminutive, yet agitating forward scored 362 goals and set the team’s career scoring record, which has since been broken by Jerome Iginla, Fleury was dealt to the Avalanche. He later had brief stints with the Rangers and Blackhwaks, but ultimately off-the-ice issues derailed his career after he left Calgary.

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Theo Fleury Unsure of His Future in Hockey

Theo Fleury put together a valiant effort at an NHL comeback after six years away, but today that journey might have come to an end. After being officially released by the Calgary Flames, Fleury is uncertain what his next decision will be.

“I am very thankful to Darryl and the Flames organization for following through on the commitment to provide me with this opportunity,” Fleury said in a statement. “I said in the beginning that no matter what the outcome, this would be a success story. I intend to take the next few days to review this experience and make decisions with my family regarding next steps in my life.”

Fleury said he will have a press conference on Monday but would not commit on whether or not he was retiring from the game.

“I need a couple of days,” Fleury told TSN.

Matchsticks and Gasoline had this to say on Fleury’s release:

It was a nice story while it lasted, but Theo was always going to have a hard time keeping up with the pace over a season, and he really didn’t appear to have quite enough left to be a full time NHLer. I had no problem with the move to invite him to camp, because the Flames had nothing to lose by giving him a chance. As well, Theo got to be reinstated, had a chance to see what he had left, and got an opportunity to perform for a fanbase that held him in very high regard. I wish him well, whatever he chooses to do next.

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Theo Fleury to Play in First NHL Game in Six Years

Theo Fleury will be taking a big step in his attempted career comeback tonight, as he takes the ice tonight in an NHL game for the first time in six years.

“It will be a special evening,” said Fleury following Wednesday’s on-ice session. "I don’t know at this point how I’m going to react to the situation, how I’m going to react to the crowd, but it’s going to be emotional.

“I had a nice conversation with my wife last night and we’re just trying to continue to take this one day at a time.” said Fleury. "I’m trying to stay as calm as possible. It’s not easy – it’s been a crazy week. Last week I was in Phoenix hoping to get here, and here I am a week later getting to play in a game.

“I’ve worked really hard to get to this point and I look at Thursday night as a real big point in my training camp process. We’ll see what I can do now.”

As Robert Cleave of Matchsticks and Gasoline notes, Fleury’s appearance tonight has caused a circus in Calgary that is overshadowing the debut of the biggest free agent acquisition of the season, defenseman Jay Bouwmeester. While he happy to see Fleury doing well so far, he’s not so certain this is a temporary raucous that will blow over once the 41-year old is overwhelmed after taking the ice against real competition.

As I mentioned earlier, under any other scenario, this would be a night for Flames’ fans to concentrate on the arrival of a highly touted free agent defenceman, but tonight will be the opposite of normal, at least to begin with. After the rapturous welcome that Theoren Fleury will receive from the patrons tonight fades and the game begins, we’ll see what he has left, and if there’s any point to his continuing. Whether he succeeds on the ice or not is somewhat trivial to me at this point, but it certainly doesn’t appear to be trivial to him, and with that in mind, I hope he does well. If nothing else, it will spice up what would normally be just another practice game for a team who’s roster is likely set. The game will once again be streamed on the Flames’ website if you live in the normal TV footprint, starting at 7 PM MT.

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Fleury to Make Debut With Flames Tonight

Theo Fleury is set to make his debut for the Flaming C’s tonight in a preseason game vs. the New York Islanders, CBC reports:

[Fleury is] looking to earn a spot on the Calgary roster after being reinstated to active status by the league last week.

“I have to earn everything again and I’m OK with that,” Fleury said. “I’m here to try and make a really good team that has a really good chance to do some good stuff this year.”

Tonight may be the only time this month where John Tavares is not the player on the ice with the most to prove.

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Fleury Sees Return as a Way to Rewrite His Ending

Indefinite suspension for violating the NHL's substance abuse policy was not the way Theo Fleury wanted to end his career. From the Calgary Sun:

So why the need to return? Does Fleury's incomplete NHL dream still include a retirement befitting an NHL star -- the standing ovation as his sweater is hoisted to the rafters, the way most greats are allowed to go?

"I think so, I think it does. What happened wasn't a good ending," says Fleury.

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Fleury Invited to Flames Training Camp

TSN has confirmed newly reinstated Theoren Fleury will be attending the Calgary Flames training camp, starting Saturday September 12.

Fleury was Calgary's all-time leading scorer until last season when Jarome Iginla finally broke his record of 830 points.

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After a Visit with Gary Bettman, Theo Fleury to be Reinstated by NHL

According to TSN, Fleury is now free to try and start a comeback with any team that is brave enough to give the 41-year old a tryout.

"It's like I'm back in Russell, Manitoba (his hometown) again where the reason I played is because it was fun and through the dark patches of my NHL career, it wasn't like that...the last place I wanted to be was at the rink," Fleury said.

"With my frame of mind, it's going to be a long training camp for those who believe they have a job already."

Fleury has not played an NHL game since 2003, when he was suspended indefinitely by the Chicago Blackhawks for substance abuse. He played one brief season in the British Elite League, but retired from pro hockey in 2006.

Fleury claims there are several teams interested. Of course, he won't say who.

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Theo Fleury In Talks For NHL Reinstatement

Troubled Theoren Fleury, 41, is in talks to be reinstated by the NHL, Darren Dreger of TSN reports.

Fleury has been going through the NHL's substance abuse program, and is to meet with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly to discuss his request today.  He has been sober for four years, but has not played since 2003 when he was indefinitely suspended while with the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Calgary Sun, hometown paper of the city where Fleury spent most of his career while with the Flames, writes that Fleury seems patient with regards to the process. From the Sun

"We're working through a process," Fleury said.

"I also understand there were some consequences for my actions. This is all part of the consequences. I didn't expect an answer right away. I know they have to think about it and see if it's good, a fit for them. If it's not, I'll move on to something else.

Fleury's comeback is unlikely to go anywhere, given his age, prolonged absence from the game, and constant headache-causing.  Other players like Claude Lemieux and Chris Chelios have managed to play past their expiration dates, but neither of them came with the baggage Fleury brings.

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