McPhee: Walsh tried to 'sabotage' Fleury trade with retirement talk
After the Golden Knights dealt the reigning Vezina Trophy winner to the Chicago Blackhawks in July, it was reported Fleury found out on Twitter. Walsh tweeted at the time that Fleury hadn't heard from the Golden Knights and the netminder needed time to "seriously evaluate his hockey future."
Vegas didn't deny Saturday that Fleury found out on social media but stated the club talked to his camp in the lead-up to the swap. However, the Golden Knights stopped communicating when Walsh began seeking to "sabotage the trade" by informing other clubs the goaltender planned to retire, McPhee told the Las Vegas Review-Journal's David Schoen.
McPhee praised Vegas general manager Kelly McCrimmon for how he navigated the ordeal and insisted the team isn't fabricating what happened.
"Kelly couldn't have handled it better," McPhee said. "(Walsh and Fleury) knew they were being traded. If you're doing what's right for the organization and you're honest with the players, you've got nothing to apologize for. Ever. And again, we're telling the truth."
Fleury reportedly didn't initially warm to the idea of joining the Blackhawks because he was reluctant to move his family to an unfamiliar city. Four days after the trade, he confirmed his intent to suit up for them.
The three-time Stanley Cup champion was arguably the face of the Golden Knights franchise after leading Vegas to the Cup Final in its inaugural 2017-18 season. But his playing time decreased after the Golden Knights acquired Robin Lehner in February 2020.
Walsh infamously tweeted an image of Fleury playing the puck with a sword through his back during the 2019-20 postseason. Walsh was apparently implying Golden Knights head coach Peter DeBoer stabbed Fleury in the back by turning more to Lehner during those playoffs.