Disrespect or Respect Theo Fleury?

Theo Fleury is the shortest player in the NHL, yet one of the toughest and most aggressive. He is a gritty player who shows his emotions during a game. When Fleury is on fire, he could be dominant and lethal to teams. He can change the momentum of the game by drawing penalties and aggravating his opponents. But, Fleury could as well hurt his own teammates and cost them a win. He is the type of player who referees hate to handle situations with. What is worse of all though, is Fleury’s personal problems conflicting with his game and team. What will happen this season?I doubt there are a lot of hockey fans that respect Fleury, but what is there to disrespect? His style of play? His style of play is just like a goon’s style of play but only inches shorter. Do people disrespect those players who use their sticks just as much as Fleury uses them? Do people disrespect those players who stick their legs out just as Fleury does? Why do people disrespect Theo if he only does what other players do, except he has an attitude and stands 5 feet and 6 inches, weighing 185lbs? Hockey fans who make jokes out of Fleury’s personal problems are the ones who should be disrespected. How dare they make joke out of one’s personal problems, who are they to make those jokes? I see people in my town who are alcoholics or drug addicts. Do I dare make fun of them? Does anyone make fun of them? Shame on those whose stupidity is way over the 100% mark, because some of those who think of Fleury as a joke don’t realize that there are young people, in their teenage years, who drink so much to be “cool” or use drugs. Who knows, a person could be so stupid to make fun of Fleury when he or she doesn’t realize that Fleury did the same thing he or she did. Fleury is a hockey player. That is a true statement, no? Fleury is a human being. That is a true statement, no? Is Fleury any different than an ordinary man? No, both are human beings with different jobs. It is a shame that hockey fans made jokes for Fleury, calling him a drunk, or a coke snuffer. If they did so, go make fun of those other drunks out on the streets.

I actually think, and very convinced, that Fleury’s problems of last year were not his fault, or, I should his life problems he had throughout his career. True facts are that Fleury did not have a normal childhood, not even good parent support. Those are just the general facts about his life, which I take seriously as to why he had problems.

I personally think Theo Fleury is a great role model for the people who had his problems. That should be a GREAT reason why people in general should respect him. Look at other famous people in the world. All those rappers like Eminem, “Puff Daddy”, or Darryl Strawberry, and others. What about well-known actor Hafleck? He was also put in rehab, but is he any different than Fleury? Did I ever hear a person make fun of the actor? No, I haven’t, so why did I hear a person make fun of Fleury?

Fans who watched the game on Saturday, New York Rangers @ Pittsburgh Penguins (aired on ABC), witnessed what Fleury did. Fleury took his third slashing minor, and instead of going to the box, he just went straight to the locker room. What sickens me is that the referees show a lot of disrespect for Fleury, and yes, Fleury did show disrespect to the referees as well. Is there a reason? I agree with Fleury 100%, and not because he is a Ranger. Fleury has the guts to show how pathetic these referees are. They are a disgrace to hockey as well. I was so disgusted to see the referees turn their backs on Fleury twice on this Rangers road trip. There was a referee who completely witnessed and saw Coyote defenseman Vanninen hit Fleury. It was not just an ordinary hit. Fleury made a drop pass along the boards inside the Coyotes’ zone, he has his head looking back while skating along the boards to read the play, so he had no possession of the puck. Vanninen charged Fleury and stuck his forearm on Fleury’s head to knock him out. It was a hit out of the play extremely visible but both referees (as the one behind the blue-line watched it) did not call anything. Number one, it was charging, number two, it was interference and number three, it was roughing. Fleury was also bleeding. Going back to the Rangers v Penguins game, Fleury had every right to yell and cuss at the referees, but he made the smart move by just leaving the game. Darius Kasparitis was battling with Fleury in front of the net, inside the crease. Referees always look, or I should say they have to always look, at the net to see if there is any goalie interference. Kasparitis gave one hard elbow on Fleury’s face, and did I see a hand raised? No, I saw nothing. Referees don’t care if Fleury gets an elbow, but they do care if they see Fleury’s stick making 3 soft slashes on another player’s hip/waist. Isn’t that pathetic? I would flip out on these referees, and I think they should be known as retards. They deserve no respect, they should be the ones to make fun of.

Does Fleury deserve this much disrespect? I would also want to add another thing. Last time the Rangers played against the Islanders, it was a big game to watch, to hear what Cairns, McCarthy, and Fleury had to say about last meeting’s event. Cairns asked for respect, since Fleury did the chicken dance to Cairns. I also read The Hockey News, in the Fan Forum (?) section where fans write brief letters. This hockey fan was upset at Fleury for doing the chicken dance to Cairns. To me, Cairns deserve that chicken dance as well as zero respect. FLASHBACK: McCarthy wanted to fight Cairns doing play, Cairns backed down, McCarthy accepted it, Rangers force a turnover, McCarthy scores, raises his arms turns around and Cairns high sticks/cross checks McCarthy’s face. My question to Cairns “You expect to get some respect for that?” I don’t even know why he wasn’t kicked out of the game for that, oh but that’s right, the referees are horrible. Fleury did a great job with that chicken dance to Cairns; he (Cairns) was a coward and a dirty cheap shot artist to do that.

There is a misunderstanding with Fleury. Yes, he is a rough and very aggressive player, who does do some dirty plays, but is he the only one though? I don’t think so. Fleury is living a hard life. He is done with the “demons” of last season but he has another problem, currently. When asked by the press what was his problem, Fleury would not give the specifics, but he did say it involved someone who he deeply cares about. Fleury also added “I want the best for them. I want for them to be safe. I don’t think this person is safe. I’m working on it.”

Fleury is a human being, and it is human nature for any human being to make mistakes. I have a lot of respect for Fleury, since his Flames years, and there is no reason why I would disrespect him. He is battling life issues, and at the same time he is on the ice playing with a team, playing hard, trying to score, and just helping the team win. Fleury is a small size player who does not back down from any player in the NHL. He is not a fighter, but he never backs down from anyone. I respect that, everyone should. He knows he is small, but he is one of the grittiest players ever. To me, a player who does not back down from any player, who scores, who is talented, who is battling life issues, and who is trying to help a team be successful, I could only offer my respect to that player. Respect Theoren Fleury for how he contributes to the game of hockey. In hockey, you play tough, aggressive, talented, and with finesse. Fleury fits those categories, and I respect him and wish him the best.

Micki Peroni