Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman addressed the media for the first time Monday regarding the trade and said he completely understands why Fleury was hesitant.
"I can identify with that: He has young children, I have kids as well, and it's a tough life to be a player," Bowman said. "It's probably obvious it was a surprise to him when the trade went down. From my first conversation with him, it was very consistent. He said, 'Look, thanks so much for the call.' He just talked about how, 'I just need a little bit of time to get through these things. So if you can have a little patience, that'd be great.' And I said, 'Not a problem at all.'"
"I put myself in his shoes. It's hard when you have young children like that. I got a call the other day from him. [He was] really excited about coming here to visit Chicago, looking at where he could live. He's been here a number of times, obviously, but it's different coming in as a player on a road trip versus where you're going to actually be spending your time. Once we had that conversation, we were willing to give him the time to process through everything."
Bowman claims he was never nervous about Fleury possibly not showing up in Chicago.
"I just looked at it more from a human being perspective," Bowman said. "I really understood what he was going through. I mean, you're not expecting to be traded, and all of a sudden you get a phone call that says your life is changing and your family's life is changing. It'd be difficult for any of us to just jump right into this new world. You need a little time to let it breathe. So I put myself in his shoes and I totally understood it.
"From everything I knew about Marc-Andre, he loves to play the game of hockey. Just loves it. He loves to be on the ice. He loves to stay late after practice ends and continue to do extra work with the guys. Not everyone is the same way. Some players, as they get older, they want maybe less on-ice work and they want to conserve energy. But that's not the feedback we got. He loves the game. He just came off the best season; he won the Vezina Trophy. We were comfortable when he was given the right time that he'd be excited to join our group."
Chicago has definitely improved over last season, at least on paper, and Fleury should just further add to that improvement.
"It's a huge addition to our team," Bowman said. "We're thrilled with what he brings to the table. It's not too often that you get a chance to add the Vezina Trophy-winning goalie to our team in the offseason, but that's the situation we were in. I couldn't be more excited to have him here with us in Chicago. In talking to him, he was really excited for the year to come."
Source: NBC 5 Chicago
Was it a good decision to trade for Fleury?