Somehow, between acting lessons, reading movie scripts, pawning his book, recording a country music song and shooting the accompanying video, Theo Fleury managed to write a blog that has underscored just how little The Little Big Man can be.
Burning perhaps the last bridge he had to the hockey world by referring to those in the Flames organization and the NHL who gave him the chance to clear his name with a comeback attempt last fall as “stupid” the 41-year-old went further by suggesting he never should’ve been cut.
Taking shots at Craig Conroy and Robyn Regehr who both had the class to speak well of Fleury during camp despite the fact all players thought his publicity stunt was a joke, Fleury tried justifying his words Thursday by suggesting “Oprah and Larry King don’t have to take calls and explain every blog they write.”
Yet, by mid-afternoon the blog had been removed from his site theofleury14.com as “it wasn’t worth the headache.”
No wonder Fleury hasn’t followed the advice he dispensed in his best-selling autobiography 'Playing With Fire' by telling police he was allegedly abused by coach Graham James — he’s just been too darn busy.
“At this time last year, I was 45 pounds overweight and thinking about making a comeback. HAHAHAHA!” wrote the former Flames captain Wednesday of his reinstatement dreams.
“Anyway, we put our nose to the grindstone and boy did we make a comeback. At one hundred and eighty pounds, I finished 11th out of 56 guys at camp in the fitness test and scored a historic shootout goal in an exhibition game after being out of hockey for six years. What does that say about the talent level in the NHL? 4 points and a plus 4 rating in four exhibition games and I get cut.
"What a joke! Craig Conroy goes the first 37 games of the season with zero goals. I wonder how many I would have had. Even with all the stupid people that run the game of hockey, it’s still a great game. Go figure.”
He goes on to predict the Flames will make another first round exit. He also suggested the Flames “trade Robyn Regehr and finally get someone for Iggy to play with.”
Part of what made Fleury one of the biggest names in Calgary was his penchant for speaking his mind. However, in light of the opportunity Darryl and Brent Sutter, the Flames and the NHL gave him after a six-year banishment that included binge drinking, drug abuse, rampant womanizing and several diatribe’s slagging the NHL, you’d think he’d be tad more grateful.
Especially since a failed concrete business and years of partying left him financially strapped and hoping one day to work for the Flames.
Keeping with his uncanny ability to take two steps backwards after making a step ahead, Fleury’s blog likely pushed future employment and potential jersey retirement by the club back many years.
“My intention wasn’t to hurt anybody — I have an opinion like everybody else,” said Fleury yesterday when reached in Winnipeg where he recorded a “typical, hard-core, grind it out” country song he wrote about his life.
“Do I feel the same way today, maybe not. Thing is, why should I get heat? I have nothing to do with hockey anymore.”
He said he wasn’t referring to the Sutters as being stupid.
He was just, ya know, bloggin.
“I don’t want to rip Theo because I like him,” said Conroy who, not surprisingly, took the high road.
“I’m a little disappointed, but he has the right to say what he thinks. I just wish he made it so we could see how many goals he’d have scored on the third or fourth line.”
So, how many Theo?
“Maybe I’d have three, I don’t know,” he said, showing a rare slice of humility.
“To be honest I don’t think I could’ve played the whole season — I don’t think my body would’ve held up. I have no bitterness towards the Flames. I feel grateful they gave me the chance.”
He’s got a funny way of showing it.
“Sorry I’m not politically correct — I’m just making observations,” said Fleury, who does vocals on his yet-unnamed song while co-writer Phil Deschambault harmonizes.
“(Conroy’s) a nice guy but hasn’t somebody else noticed he hasn’t scored the first 37 games? Just me? Even he’d say he needs to score more.”
Despite taking acting lessons and recently being offered a movie part Fleury is unsure whether he’s up to playing the lead role in the play written about his life by his book’s co-author. (He told Flames teammates Matt Damon was pegged for the movie role).
“To be honest I couldn’t get to the places that make it real,” said Fleury of his acting motivation.
“I find it uncomfortable to sit at a table with a gun ... I start laughing. I’m past that.”
Has he brought a formal complaint on James to the police yet?
“I can’t really say yes or no — you will hear,” said Fleury, adding that plans to be part of a rehab centre in Calgary have also been pushed way back on his to-do list.
“That’s not what is important right now. I’m doing my own thing right now — having fun. This is something I’ve always wanted to do. It’s not a gimmick song. Phil figures there’s a whole album in there.”
There’s a lot inside Theo Fleury — exactly what will come out next is anyone’s guess.