Writing was on the wall for Fleury

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 9:36 AM ET

The date, a dubious one at that, is ingrained in Flames history.

Feb. 28, 1999.

On that black Sunday, the Flames dealt away their popular star, Theoren Fleury.

It soon became the beginning of the end of his career, too.

"It was the day I got traded from Calgary," Fleury told Rogers Sportsnet in an interview aired yesterday. "It was a place I was very comfortable with and I had a lot of trust in the people that were here. Deeply, deeply planted roots in the city and the town ... Never having been traded ever once in my life, I was basically lost."

After only a couple of months in the Mile High City, Fleury moved on to the Big Apple, with Gotham-sized expectations to go with the three-year contract worth $21 million US.

"I'm a 5-foot-6 guy, there's no way that I'm going to be able to carry the New York Rangers on my back and carry them into the playoffs," he said. "That was an unreal expectation and maybe it was my expectation in the back of my mind that I could do it. Playing in Canada is a lot of pressure but playing in New York is absolutely insane."

After three seasons with the Rangers came the ill-fated shortened season in Chicago.

"It seemed like from Day 1, the powers-that-be, the guys that signed me didn't really believe in me. And because of that, I got into a struggle with myself, again that inner struggle about who do I trust, do these people really want me here and whatnot," he said. "It was just at that point where I said, 'If they don't give a s--- about me then I'm not going to really play as hard as I can for them either."

It all came crashing down after a January 2003 brawl at a Columbus club, which spiralled through to the end of the season.

"I don't remember anything that happened that night," he said. "I think in the end, when I look back on it, it was myself telling me, 'You know what, you're done. You're not having fun anymore.' "


Videos

Photos