500 and feelin' fine

STEVE MACFARLANE, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:21 AM ET

NASHVILLE -- Ask Craig Conroy a few years back if he thought he'd still be playing at 37, and he wouldn't have been certain.

If you were able to go back in time almost two decades to chat with him after the 1990 draft, he wouldn't even have predicted making the NHL at all.

That's why reaching the 500-point plateau in the world's best league yesterday with an assist on Todd Bertuzzi's game-winning goal in the dying seconds of a 3-2 decision over the Nashville Predators is so special.

"Five hundred points in a league I didn't even know I was ever gonna play in, that's probably the most rewarding thing to me," said Conroy yesterday. "(Drafted) 123rd overall, you're thinking, well, you might get to play, you might not. To be able to get 500 and still going, and to have it be on a game-winner by Bert -- what a great play by him."

Conroy nearly got it earlier in the game when he pushed the puck way up ice to hand Rene Bourque a shorthanded breakaway.

Dan Ellis made the save, and time was ticking away before Bertuzzi made good with a perfect shot under the crossbar with 24 seconds left in regulation to give the Flames a fifth-straight win and 10 consecutive games with at least a point.

Conroy has been a big part of those winning ways, earning 10 of his 23 points in these last 10 contests while spending a good chunk of his time between Jarome Iginla and Michael Cammalleri lately.

That tells you all you need to know about what head coach Mike Keenan thinks about Conroy.

"I'm really happy and I'm really proud of him," said Keenan. "I had an opportunity to trade for him when I was in St. Louis and he got a really good start (there).

"He's a really important part of our team.

"He's a real positive individual who's well-liked by his teammates -- and he's playing well for us at this time of his career."


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