Monday, August 21, 2006


Little Big Man

Slow news day: Jenna and Rick were taking calls on The FAN 960 this morning to the question, "Who is the greatest Flame ever?" It's interesting how teams evolve over the years. Surely, in half the cities of the NHL, this discussion would be over in 5 seconds (e.g. Pittsburgh, Edmonton, St. Louis, Dallas, etc.), but in Calgary, there's a decent case to be made for a half-dozen or more guys.

In the 15 or so minutes I was listening, I heard support for Lanny, Nieuwendyk, Roberts, Fleury, Iginla, Macinnis, and Vernon, among others. I've been thinking about it since, and:

I don't want to consider Jarome (or for that matter, Kipper) right now. If the next couple of years brings a presentation of the Big Trophy, I suspect Iginla will top future versions of this discussion, hands-down.

If I wanted to do this analytically, and build the tightest possible case for my choice, I'd probably end up going with Al Macinnis. He was very, very good for a lot of years; was improving constantly; and was the deserving winner of the Conn Smythe in Calgary's only Cup season.

But in the end, I have to go with Theoren Fleury, and not just because I have a soft spot for people who like to drink. I think Fleury is the answer to all three of these questions:
  1. Who was the Flames' MVP for the greatest number of seasons?
  2. Who was the most talented Flame ever?
  3. Who was the most exciting Flame ever to watch?
And that's good enough for me.


It's a sad, sad day when the "greatest flame ever" turns out to be theoron fleury. But then, the flames are a sad, sad team.

Grace, just think about it from a Canucks' fan's perspective... Trevor Linden?

You haven't even commented on your boyfriend Matthew Lombardi signing, or the Taratukhin stuff.

And I don't think it's a sad day to list Fleury. I hated him, but he could play. He was an elite player, until the booze and rage took over. Too bad, too, as it ruined a HoF career.

Also, wasn't Fleury the last of the good Flames to leave before the ugly years of the Young Guns?

Paul Reinhart? Al MacInnis?

I think that you can probably make a decent case for Fleury having had the greatest career *as a Flame* of any Flame. I'll admit, he was always a favourite of mine. He's a John Daly type in a lot of ways, oddly enough.

Yeah, I suppose it's not irrelevant to mention that Fleury is also the all-time leading Goal and Points scorer for the Flames.

Also, the Most Excited Preseason Home Crowd in NHL History might well have been the folks in the Saddledome in the '87 preseason. The place was just electric, waiting to see what this midget who no one had ever heard of would do next ("9th round draft pick?" "What is he - 5'5"?" "Did he just try to knock down Garth Butcher???"")

Theo Fleury was a fun hockey player to watch. He was quick, gritty and he had a nice scoring touch. He played for the flames and I've never been a fan of them, but in his prime that it was just fun to see play even if he was on the wrong team.

Bure was even better for that. I don't see how James can pick anyone but Bure as the greatest Canuck.

Not sure I'd put Theo ahead of Nilsson on the question of "most talented"...

But yeah, gotta be the little guy.

- Smith

Tom Lysiak.

Canucks - Stan Smyl, no?

James, in order to think about it from a canucks' fan's perspective I'd have to remove my full frontal lobe. I despise the canucks more than I despise the Flames!

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I think Theo is second to Paxton Schulte in the "best Belfast Giant ever" debate.

My brother taught in Edinburgh last year and he saw Theo play about 6 times. Apparently at the beginning of one game the Edinburgh goon (6'4", 225) came at Fleury and Theo beat the living shit out of him. Then the guy tried to get his revenge in the third period and Theoren beat the crap out of him again...

- Randy

I seem to recall his first game in Britain, he scored a Gordie Howe Hat Trick in addition to an actual Hat Trick. I think Belfast won that one 7-1.

The wee bastard apparently got married in Russell, Man., over the weekend.

'It's a sad, sad day when the "greatest flame ever" turns out to be theoron fleury. But then, the flames are a sad, sad team.'

Grace, there's nothing sad at all about it. Fleury was an amazing player and he bled for the Flames. 5'6" of pure impossibility for the way he played and the level he played at. He accomplished a great many things and was among the elite and best players in the world in his time. I would have loved to have seen him in the HoF.

The only thing sad is how his career ended in the NHL and that he lost so many battles over the years to his personal demons. I wish Theo all the best and I'd have to agree here that he's the greatest Flame of all time, or at least tied for it for now.

The answer to all three questions is Theo Fleury. How can it be any other way? He was there for so damn long.

It's Macinnis, barely, who is the all-time leader in GP (he had 803 to Fleury's 791); Fleury barely wins on Points, 830 to 822.

Iginla will pass the GP mark early in the 07/08 season (he's at 708 right now), but will need another contract to pass those guys in the scoring categories.

håkan loob. easy. the only swedish born player to EVER score 50 goals in the nhl (87-88); a record that still stands [take THAT, alfredsson !!] 'nuff said...

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Haha, Hakan Loob, how could I forget that name. Buccigross over at ESPN has a serious love on for the Loobmeister.

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