August 07, 2009
The back-from-vacation Darren Dreger of TSN dropped a bit of knowledge tonight reporting that sources were telling him that Theo Fleury is making the effort to return to play in the NHL as early as this coming season.
Fleury hasn't played in the NHL since the 2002-03 season with the Blackhawks where he contributed 33 pts in 54 games. Dreger wrote that the two-time Olympian has been training in Calgary in hopes of receiving an invite to training camp from an interested team. More importantly, after two off-ice issues, Fleury's been sober for about four years
If Fleury were to return, he would have to be cleared by the League and doctors from the Players Association's Substance Abuse program. Dreger also confirmed that the seven-time All-Star sent a letter to commissioner Gary Bettman to begin the process of reinstatement. Already, fans are wishing for Fleury's services on their team, believing the 41-year old could contribute like he once did.
We saw Claude Lemieux(notes) return for 18 games plus one in the playoffs this season after a six-year layoff. Would a return by the 5'6 Fleury only reveal that the "new" NHL would expose a shell of his former self?
UPDATE: Mirtle has a great post up this morning detailing the likely financial motive behind Fleury's comeback.