Loyalty in sports is a thing that is often lauded, but seemingly is a thing of the past — but over the weekend, we saw an example of it that goes to an extreme.
On TNT’s NHL intermission show, Marc-Andre Fleury is said to have confirmed earlier reports that he chose not to accept a trade from the Blackhawks to the Capitals at the deadline, instead ending up being dealt to the Minnesota Wild.
According to The Athletic’s Tarik El-Bashir, Fleury said “It just didn’t seem right” to join Washington after all of the playoff battles the team had with the Penguins.
Marc-Andre Fleury just confirmed on @NHL_On_TNT's intermission show that he respects the #Caps but wasn't interested in coming to Washington at the deadline after all of the playoff battles as a member of the Penguins. "It just didn’t seem right," he said.— Tarik El-Bashir (@Tarik_ElBashir) March 27, 2022
It was Fleury’s big glove save on Alexander Ovechkin in the opening minutes of Game 7 in 2009 that sparked the Penguins’ 6-2 win over the Capitals en route to the Stanley Cup.
Flash forward 8 years later when Fleury, who had been spending time on the bench as a backup to Matt Murray, took back the starting duties when Murray suffered an injury before the opening round of play against the Blue Jackets.
Another Game 7 in Washington, and another big performance for Fleury to send the Capitals home, this time with a 29-save shutout and a 2-0 win.
After Fleury would join Vegas as a member of the Golden Knights, Washington would get redemption, defeating Fleury in 2018 to win the Stanley Cup.
Whether or not Fleury gave up a better opportunity to win the Stanley Cup again is up for debate by choosing Minnesota over Washington, but at this point in his career, it seems like Fleury just wanted to deny the Capitals one more time.