How the Wild’s Marc-Andre Fleury pulled off his latest prank masterpiece

DENVER — Brandon Duhaime knew something big was coming.

We don’t mess with one of the NHL’s all-time pranksters, Marc-André Fleury, and we walk away unscathed.

“I thought there would be a bang,” Duhaime said. “For sure.”

Yet Duhaime, 26, was caught off guard Monday afternoon when he walked toward the Colorado Avalanche players’ secure parking lot and saw his black Jeep with its tires chained and locked to the fence , sitting on top of concrete blocks.

He was not the only one.

“I walked out there and was like, ‘Holy s—,’ Avs teammate Ross Colton said. “I would have been so mad. He got it GOOD.”

Fleury, known as “Fleur”, generally does not accept pranks. Sometimes it will take years to get there. Even on Tuesday, Fleury said with a straight face: “I don’t usually do pranks. » But the future Hall of Famer left a special signature on this one, by placing his own flower garden of pansies on a bed of earth at the level of the hood. There was a “For Sale” sign on the windshield with a handwritten note telling Duhaime he would get the keys to the lock and the tools to fix it if he sent a video apology.

The truck was in the same location and condition Tuesday before the Wild’s game against the Avalanche, and Duhaime plans to take care of it on Wednesday, the day off. In the meantime, he goes for walks with his teammates. But after covering Fleury’s truck with toilet paper last week in Minnesota and seeing his former Wild teammate’s powerful response, Duhaime capitulated.

“I think the white flag is coming,” Duhaime said, smiling. “I think I’m done. We had a lot of fun.

How did Fleury succeed?

Fleury said he’s been thinking since Duhaime’s brazen prank last week, rolling rolls of toilet paper all over his car during a morning practice in Minnesota. The fact that the Wild were heading to Denver next week, arriving Sunday with a full Monday off, meant Fleury had ample opportunity.

And help.

“It definitely wasn’t a solo job,” Duhaime said. “I don’t think he can change a tire, to be honest with you.”

“Me?” » asked Fleury, laughing. “I can. He can’t. It’s his problem. He’s still in the parking lot.

“This guy?” Damn it.

For the record, Duhaime said he plans to hire help to put the tires back on and adjust them.

“Probably quite expensive,” Duhaime said.

Fleury said he took an Uber from the team hotel to Home Depot to gather supplies, including cinder blocks, dirt and flowers, picking pansies because he was in a hurry.

The Uber ride back to the Avs facility was interesting, with the driver putting down floor mats from front to back in case there was any damage.

“My Uber driver may not have been impressed with me,” Fleury said. “Always very useful. I thank him.

When Fleury arrived at the parking lot, helpers/teammates were waiting.

“I don’t want to reveal it, but I can’t take all the credit,” Fleury said. “I had help. Some good gentlemen helped me through the process.

Investigating the Wild Room on Tuesday, at least one co-conspirator was evident. Mason Shaw immediately smiled when he approached.

“I’m not going to say I was or wasn’t involved,” Shaw said. “But he did a good job. (Duhaime) learned a hard lesson playing with “Flower”. Justice has been served.

“We all had an idea and I know he was talking about it,” Brock Faber said. “I won’t spoil any ideas in case something else happens.” But it was a lot of fun. I can’t say how many guys, I can’t say who it was. It’s a secret.”

Avalanche coach Jared Bednar found the whole exchange funny, but he made an interesting point: why the hell did Duhaime even risk bringing his car to the rink on Monday, knowing that Fleury was in town?

“I would have never brought my own,” Dakota Mermis said.

Fleury smiles.

“I was going to find it anyway.”

This prank war has been going on for months. It all started when Duhaime made a joke during Bally’s postgame show in December in Boston that Fleury putting in a brilliant performance was great considering he was 50 years old.

During a match shortly after, Fleury said Duhaime would find his clothes somewhere. The winger ended up going out without a shirt under his coat and wearing fur boots.

Duhaime left a pink cane on Fleury’s net at practice around Christmas, as part of his “Secret Santa” gift. The pranks didn’t stop when Duhaime was traded to the Avalanche at the deadline. The Wild faced the Avalanche a game later, and Duhaime said Fleury tied his skates together, giving them bunny ears.

So, with the Minnesota Avalanche last week, Duhaime ended an interview with a reporter by asking if his recorder was off.

“I’m going to look for (Fleury),” he said.

Then came the repair of Fleury’s car by Duhaime, which Duhaime describes as individual work.

“That’s the type of guy he is,” Shaw said of Duhaime. “He’s a fun guy off the ice, not afraid to fight on or off the ice. Not surprised at all. It was quite funny to watch this unfold.

“He’s a good kid, always ready for a good laugh,” Fleury said of Duhaime. “I’d rather do that to him than (Mats Zuccarello), who would be more upset about it. You have to choose your audience.

What also struck Duhaime was that this was allowed to happen in the Avalanche parking lot, which is usually secure.

“He had internal sources, external sources,” Duhaime quipped. “He knows everyone in Colorado at this point. You would think (security) would buckle down and take care of their own. They let him in with flying colors.

Fleury said security “did its job.”

“They were busy with other things,” he said. “So I took advantage of it.”

Duhaime joined a group of Wild players for dinner at a steakhouse Monday night, including Fleury, Shaw, Faber and Freddy Gaudreau. Fleury treated Duhaime to dinner, even though it wasn’t a prank; he owed him earlier this season. “I pay my dues,” Fleury said.

And Fleury always returns the favor when someone plays a prank on him. This includes sharing Duhaime’s seven-second apology video. “Hey Flower, it’s Brandon, I just wanted to tell you that you won the prank war and I’m sorry.”

“He could have been more sincere,” Fleury joked.

So now it seems the war is over, with the sides having reconciled and Fleury having added a prank that will live on forever in his lore of shenanigans.

“I like this one,” Fleury said. “That’s probably at the top of the list.” I like it when it takes time, requires work. Team work. As if you were doing it together. So you’re not laughing alone. You have someone to laugh with.

(Top photo courtesy of the Minnesota Wild)

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