I happened to be tipped off to this story as I was sitting quietly at school doing homework. I don't normally scan the Internet for radio stations to listen to when I'm learning, but this piece of information was just too much for me to ignore. Like the image to the left, Theoren Fleury is looking to trip someone up by prognosticating on the radio through The Fan 960 in Calgary. Normally, you don't get players - current or former - making predictions about any team's chances in the Stanley Cup Playoffs since the predictions could come back to bite them in the rear, but Theo Fleury is reviving the Calgary-Vancouver rivalry with his radio interview today.
I thought about pilfering the audio on their website, but then I found that The Fan 960 actually has a copy of the interview posted to their site. My advice? Click on that link and listen to the range of topics that Fleury and the hosts discuss. Topics include Milli Vanilli, Rick Astley, cursing on-air during hockey broadcasts, and Fleury revealing that he thinks that the Vancouver Canucks will not advance past the first round of the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Let me repeat that: Theoren Fleury thinks that the Vancouver Canucks will lose to the eighth-seed of the Western Conference in the opening round of the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Now, Fleury gives some very good reasons as to why the Canucks may lose in the first round. After all, there haven't been very many President's Trophy winners that have captured the most important trophy in hockey, so he has a point.
But the fact that he calls Roberto Luongo's reputation into question is one of those things that a lot of hockey fans may agree with when looking at Luongo's body of work. Outside of the semi-final of the 2004 World Cup of Hockey, has Luongo ever put a team on his shoulders during a high-pressure, big game and come out on the winning side of the ledger?
You can point to the 2010 Winter Olympics as the sign that Luongo has arrived, but there are a lot of people who think that Canada won the gold medal in spite of Luongo. Luongo has twice faltered against the Chicago Blackhawks in the playoffs, and the Blackhawks seem to have the Canucks' number this season as well. If the Blackhawks manage to secure the eighth seed in the Western Conference, do you think that there won't be some doubt lingering in the minds of Vancouver fans?
Where the Canucks may have an advantage this season is that Cory Schneider has been lights-out when he has taken over in relief for Luongo. Luongo hasn't had to play as many games as he has in the past, so he may be fresher and better once the "second season" starts. And if he does have a bad game, Schneider is definitely a better alternative than what Vancouver has had in the past.
I think Fleury made for some excellent Calgary radio, but I'm betting that a lot of people will stick with the Canucks as the postseason begins. The Canucks have grit, toughness, skill, scoring, and one of the best goaltending tandems in the league. I'm not saying that upsets won't happen, but Fleury's comments seem to be very good radio fodder for a Calgary radio station.
I'm quite sure that had he said what he did on Vancouver radio that Fleury would be a marked man by many Canucks fans. But you have to admit that it was a pretty entertaining interview from Fleury. And who doesn't like the pot being stirred a little?
Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!