James O'Brien

theocountry
Theo Fleury/eOne Music Canada

Theo Fleury, country music star?

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You know, Theo Fleury has a point: his life really has been a lot like a country song.

Granted, most people don’t associate country music with former Calgary Flames All-Stars, but he’s experienced the sort of hardships that go far beyond the cliche of losing your dog.

Either way, Fleury is embarking on a career in country music, as his album “I Am Who I Am” will be released via eOne Music Canada on Oct. 23.

His reps released the single “My Life’s Been a Country Song” on Thursday:

Not bad, right? (We’ll leave deeper analysis to country fans/experts/critics.)

“We wanted this to be a real grassroots album — ‘Let’s get back to fiddles and steel guitars and accordions and honky-tonk pianos, but put our own stamp on it,’ ” Fleury said, via eOne Music Canada. “We’re a bunch of guys who love that old-school country sound.”

It should be intriguing to see where this lands on the scale of athletes trying their luck at recording music.

Here’s a guess: Fleury will rank somewhere between Shaq’s misadventures and Wayman Tisdale’s triumphs.

PTOverload? Leafs reportedly invite Boyes to camp

Brad Boyes
Associated Press
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At this rate, Toronto Maple Leafs training camp might feature closer competition than their games.

The Maple Leafs reportedly handed forward Brad Boyes a professional tryout contract on Thursday, according to Fox Sports Midwest’s Andy Strickland.

Boyes joins a remarkably distinguished group of veteran players hoping to make the Leafs, as Curtis Glencross and Devin Setoguchi are also in that PTO mix. That trio has combined for 464 goals and 1,005 points in their NHL careers.

Boyes, 33, has eclipsed the 20-goal mark four times in his career, yet he had to earn a contract in this situation before. The Florida Panthers made him try out before signing him, and he rewarded them with a 21-goal season in 2013-14.

He didn’t score as many goals with Florida in 2014-15 (14), but he actually ended up with more points (38 versus 36).

Is he a perfect player? No, but he’s managed to stay relevant enough to keep his NHL career alive, and he’s likely to push Setoguchi, Glencross and Maple Leafs youngsters for a roster spot in the coming weeks.

18 going on 30: Habs’ prospect Fucale must be patient behind Price

Zachary Fucale
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Being a goalie prospect with Carey Price entrenched in Montreal probably feels like trying to make headway in New Jersey during Martin Brodeur’s lengthy run (or doing the same with the Rangers and Henrik Lundqvist now).

Canadiens prospect Zachary Fucale seems OK with the idea of being patient, at least according to what he told NHL.com on Thursday.

“My goal, my dream, my vision is to play in the NHL,” Fucale said. “That’s where I want to play. Every time I get to be in an NHL camp, that’s a chance to be up there. So my goal is to play in the NHL, whether I’m 18 or 30. That’s what I want to accomplish, I want to prove to the Montreal Canadiens that I can play.”

(Does anyone else picture “13 Going on 30” Photoshop scenarios after reading that quote? No? Fair enough …)

It’s an interesting scenario for Fucale, who turned 20 in May.

While Price definitely stands as a barricade to his goal of being the top guy – backup duty wouldn’t be as tough to come by – it’s clear the Canadiens organization will eventually give him a chance to prove himself.

Montreal selected Fucale with a second-round pick (36th overall) in 2013, so it’s not like Fucale is some obscure prospect.

One most easily imagines him making an impression as a backup before perhaps being traded somewhere to get a starting gig, but the young netminder is right in pointing out that things can change pretty quickly at the goalie position in the NHL.

Indeed, Price could probably relate to Fucale’s situation, as Jose Theodore was the guy in net when he was drafted back in 2005.

Ultimately, it’s wise for Fucale to take the “step by step” approach right now. Then again, does he really have a choice?

Panthers will bring hockey to Dominican Republic

2015 NHL All-Star Weekend - Mascot Portraits
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The Florida Panthers are set to bring hockey (and Stanley C. Panther) to the Dominican Republic from Sept. 8-10.

Specifically, their latest youth hockey and community outreach initative will take place in Santo Domingo with the help of JetBlue.

Forward Vincent Trocheck and TV analyst Randy Moller will be on hand (along with Stanley C. Panther, of course).

During that trip, the Panthers will make a stop at CURE Hospital and run a steet hockey clinic for as many as 100 students.

Pretty neat, eh?

This isn’t the first time the Panthers hopped on a JetBlue plane as part of this outreach program, either. The team also visited the Bahamas (more about that here) and Puerto Rico in the past:

The franchise is really developing a knack for expanding its audience through means that may seem unconventional to other NHL teams. This fits in nicely with endeavors such as featuring Spanish announcers for select Panthers games.

Report: Bruins extend tryout offer to Gustavsson

Jonas Gustavsson
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The Boston Red Sox have “The Green Monster” and now the Boston Bruins might add a Swedish “Monster” as a backup goalie.

The Bruins extended a professional tryout contract offer to Jonas Gustavsson, HNIC’s Elliotte Friedman reports.

Some greeted the announcement with sardonic responses while others wondered if the offer is an indictment of the Bruins’ pipeline beyond Tuukka Rask.

Really, though, it’s a pretty low-risk move by the Bruins.

Gustavsson, 30, is far removed from the hype he brought to Toronto back in 2009-10, and it’s true that his overall stats are lacking (no one’s too excited about a netminder with a career save percentage of .901).

If you want to stretch the boundaries of optimism a bit, you could point to Gustavsson’s sneaky-solid work in just seven appearances last season: his even-strength save percentage was .939. Many believe that’s a more honest indicator of a netminder’s effectiveness, so perhaps he could revamp his career in Boston, at least as a backup?

It probably won’t hurt the Bruins to find out what he can offer.

In other Bruins news, Lee Stempniak and Daniel Paille were involved in an informal practice with Bruins players, according to CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty.