After reading this you almost have to wonder if he is going to retire
because Larry Brooks would forgive anyone who puts up points for the
Rangers and at least want Simone Gagne under normal circumstances.
TAKE THIS ACT
by Larry Brooks
February 28, 2002 -- AND so there will be one more last chance for
Theo Fleury, one more last chance the Rangers are giving the winger
to put the team ahead of his own selfish priorities, one more last
chance to stop making this 2001-02 season all about himself.
I'm sorry. This is one last chance too many.
I can tell you this. If I were the GM here, Fleury not only wouldn't
be in the lineup for tonight's Garden match against Ottawa, he'd
never play another game for the Rangers. He and his no-trade contract
would be on waivers, on his way either to another NHL team willing to
put up with his self-centered outbursts, or, failing that, to
Manitoba or any AHL outpost west of Hartford.
The Rangers would be better off without him. Fleury is no longer an
asset to this organization. He is a liability, a massive liability,
21 goals or not. He is all about himself. Oh, excuse me, about
himself and Team Canada.
Twenty-three players dressed in the locker room at Rye yesterday.
Seven of them played in the Olympics. Six earned a medal. One and
only one had his Olympic team nameplate hanging above his stall.
Maybe Wayne Gretzky will be willing to take him in Phoenix.
It was pathetic even again yesterday to hear Fleury play the victim.
No respect. No respect. It's become his mantra. But who can respect a
hockey player who cannot control his emotions? Pardon me. He can
control his emotions in the Olympics, but not playing for the
Rangers. He can control his emotions for six games at Salt Lake, but
not even for 60 minutes on Broadway.
But why should he have any sense of obligation to the Rangers?
They're only paying him $7 million a year.
Glen Sather talked to Fleury yesterday. He talked to the entire team.
Ultimatums were no doubt issued to Fleury. Ultimatums have been
issued before. It is absurd that the general manager who came to New
York with the specific pledge to restore a sense of accountability to
a franchise that had become a league-wide laughingstock is not
willing to hold Fleury accountable for his actions.
If not Fleury, then who?
What kind of disciplinary structure within the Ranger room can
possibly exist when one player is continually permitted to place
himself and his own agenda ahead of the organization's? What kind of
message is being sent to this team's athletes? Poor Ron Low. Does
nothing ever change?
I wish nothing but the best personally for Fleury. I salute him for
the courage he has displayed and the steps he has taken to confront
off-ice issues far weightier than most of us have ever known or ever
But that doesn't mean that I'd keep him on the team. It doesn't mean
that I believe the Rangers are better off with him than without him.
If this were my team, he'd no longer have any nameplate to hang in
the locker room.