**Note: Also appears on the Calgary Herald’s Q Blog
Reginald Tiangha, Calgary Herald
Published: Tuesday, January 30, 2007
January 30, 2007 11:56 – Watching my beloved Calgary Flames this season has been frustrating at times. Seeing them dominate at the Saddledome while at the same time having to endure their sucktitude on the road is hard to take. It’s certainly nothing like the nail biting, heart-attack hockey of last year where many games were decided by only one goal (and had me crawling up the walls for most of the season), but still frustrating nonetheless. So let me get this off my chest and be one of the many to say: Welcome Back, Craig Conroy!
Now, before I get labeled as either a Connie fan boy or one of those people who: a) lamented the loss of Craig Conroy after the lockout to free agency, b) became OCD over the fact that signing Daymond Langkow to the team was not the same as signing Craig Conroy to the team, c) believed that the reason that we lost to Anaheim in last year’s playoff run was because we didn’t have people like Craig Conroy on the roster, and d) believes that Craig Conroy will be the lord and savior that will lead us to the promised land (i.e. the Stanley Cup), let me tell you exactly why I’m excited that he’s coming back.
No, it’s not because he’s a media darling who can give a good interview (although they’re always fun to watch). It’s not because he’s a stellar player (he’s only gotten five goals and 11 assists this season with L.A.). It’s not because it gives us more depth in the center position (although that’s always a good thing). It’s definitely not because I’m on some ’04 Stanley Cup playoff run nostalgia trip (although those were fun times).
What really gets me excited is, well, the fact that Craig Conroy himself is excited to be back.
Many people criticize the team for not putting in a full 60 minute effort every game, their road record not being consistent with their excellent home record, and for seeming to lose heart whenever they’re down on the scoreboard. I strongly feel it’s because this team puts too much pressure on themselves to win (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing at all). I can only imagine how tense it must be in that locker room whenever things aren’t going so well (doubly so when the team used to be coached by Darryl Sutter).
Just watching the guy on television and listening to him on the radio talking about how happy he is to be back is like watching a kid in a candy shop. He’s a player that really, really wants to be here. This can only mean good things for the Calgary Flames. I don’t know what Conroy’s role will be on the team, and I don’t know if he’ll be put on the top line with Iginla or stuck on the third line, but I’m not counting on him to put up big numbers anyways (although big numbers are always nice and you’re welcome to prove me wrong, Mr. Conroy). As lame as it sounds, I think the most important thing that Conroy will bring to this team will be his enthusiasm. Once the locker room lightens up a bit and the boys rediscover how to actually have fun out there, I’m certain that good things will happen.
While some people may believe that Conroy will be the solution to all our problems, I, for one, know better. Our power play is still horrid and our penalty kill isn’t that good either because defensively, we’re not as disciplined as we used to be. This team has a lot more work to do in order to become an elite team this season despite being near the top of the Northwest Division.
For me right now, I’m trying not to dwell on stuff like that. The first thing I did when I heard of the news was to get me a ticket to this week’s game against the L.A. Kings (see you in Section 217; I’ll be the guy with the giant flag). Either our team will improve or it won’t. The only thing I know for sure is that I’m going to go and have a good time watching and cheering Craig Conroy’s first game back wearing the Flaming C.
Welcome home, Craig. We’ve missed you.