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Ep. 11: FLAMES UP CLOSE with Ryan Leslie, guest Craig Conroy

Ryan Leslie sat down with Flames assistant GM Craig Conroy, who talked about his awkward arrival to Calgary, his friendship with Jarome Iginla and his passion for the franchise.

Assistant General Manager Craig Conroy (left) and former Flames GM Jay Feaster share a conversation at the Xcel Energy Center on June 24, 2011.

Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Assistant General Manager Craig Conroy (left) and former Flames GM Jay Feaster share a conversation at the Xcel Energy Center on June 24, 2011.

Whenever you chat with Flames Assistant General Manager Craig Conroy, you feel like you're getting an all-access pass to the "hockey stories channel". It's like you've been invited to sit at the great NHL table dishing up everything you love about this game – including behind-the-scenes stories.

Oh sure, there are great story-tellers in this game, but no one makes you feel like you were there (or wish you were) quite like Craig Conroy. He’s one of the NHL’s good guys, the type you'd like to just have a beer with. One of those guys who – with more than 1,000 NHL games under his belt– has just about seen it all. 

I caught up to ol' #24 ahead of Game 1 between the Ducks and Flames in Anaheim.
 
It's fitting, given that he was instrumental in the Flames' last regular season win in 2004.  

No Kiprusoff. No Iginla. No chance.  That was, until Conroy went off for 4 points– while breaking teammate Chris Clarke's nose in the process. 

Speaking of Iginla, in this week’s Flames Up Close Podcast Conroy talks about his friendship with Jarome. Plus, for the first time, he opens up about his real feeling for Iggy's infamous frosted-tipped mini dreadlocks.  

(Spoiler alert: He didn't care for them.)

From there the conversation bounces to tales of his humble beginnings in Montreal.

For example, as a rookie, he once wired a puck off Patrick Roy’s head during an inter-squad game... and was immediately jumped by his teammates on both sides. 

Or, in Conroy's St. Louis days, how he was pals with Jim Edmunds and Mark McGwire during the home run hysteria.

Or, that one time when Mike Keenan said he'd pay for Wayne Gretzky's hotel bill, only to have the Great One and all his buddies charge everything to his room over the next month. How did Iron Mike respond?  

"He paid the bill.  It's Wayne Gretzky, what are you gonna do?" Conroy quipped.

In addition to all the great stories of the past, Conroy also shares what the players are feeling and going through during this series. Some insight you just can't find anywhere else. 

Yep, this is Craig Conroy at his finest. A pro's pro, a fan's best friend, and a media darling. 

Enjoy the conversation. 

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