Through the 5 Hole

September 25, 2009 10:57 PM

Fleury released, but he's still a winner

Well done, Theo Fleury.

No, the comeback kid's attempted comeback didn't pan out with the Calgary Flames, but he did himself proud nonetheless.

Fleury was released by the Flames today, but he performed a lot better than anyone could have anticipated with four points in four preseason games, along with a winning shootout goal.

Not bad for a guy who is 41, has been out of the NHL for six years and is a recovering alcoholic. He's been sober for some time and will continue to fight the good fight, so kudos to him.

In order for Fleury to crack the Flames' 23-man roster -- playing in the minors apparently wasn't an option -- he had to convince the coaching staff that he was one of the team's top six wingers, and his foot speed just isn't there anymore.

"It had nothing to do with his heart or his mind for the game," Flames coach Brent Sutter told Calgary reporters. "At the age he's at, the legs just aren't where they need to be. That's certainly not his fault. It happens. That's natural and it's happened. But I'm darned proud of Theo, I really am.

"This isn't just about hockey. It's about life, and where he's at in his life."

And for that, Fleury ought to be quite proud.

"I said in the beginning that no matter what the outcome, this would be a success story," Fleury said in a statement. "I intend to take the next few days to review this experience and make decisions with my family regarding next steps in my life."

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