Dan Boyle wanted it clear: He "absolutely loves Tampa" and wishes the Lightning "absolutely the best."
But when it comes to the way Friday's trade to the Sharks was handled by new owners Oren Koules and Len Barrie, Boyle said, "I was misled, lied to and completely disrespected."
"I understand business is business," he added, "and I would not have taken this personally if it was done the right way. But when threats are involved and my personal character and work ethic questioned, that's not the way to do business."
Boyle's outburst clouded otherwise good moves for both sides.
Boyle, whose six-year, $40-million contract the team wanted to shed, is headed for a Stanley Cup contender for which he waived his no-trade clause.
The Lightning, who included defenseman Brad Lukowich in the deal, gets a highly regarded puck-moving defenseman in Matt Carle, 23; a good-looking defensive prospect in Ty Wishart, the No. 16 overall pick of 2006; a first-round pick in 2009 and a fourth-rounder in 2010.
Tampa Bay now has two first-rounders next season and two in the second (including Philadelphia's via the Vinny Prospal deal).
The trade also knocked a net $5.334-million off Tampa Bay's salary cap number, key as it was over the $56.7-million limit.
"It ensures," Koules said, "that our team is better in October and better for the next 10 years."
That did not placate Boyle, who was stolen from the Panthers in 2002 for a fifth-round draft pick and turned himself into one of the league's best offensive defensemen.
Boyle, who turns 32 on July 12, said he was told, by whom he would not say because "I'm not going to throw anyone under the bus," he has been shopped since February, when he signed his contract that pays $6.667-million annually. Boyle said that wouldn't have bothered him if he had been told.
"I would have understood," he said. "But when you're telling me one thing and doing something else, that's not the way to handle business."
Barrie said the accusation is "totally untrue. We weren't making any moves until the draft."
Not officially, but the new owners were deeply involved in personnel discussions by February's trade deadline.
Boyle grew emotional when he said he was told if he did not accept a trade, he would be put on waivers and exposed to the entire league.
He became agitated when he said someone in management questioned his work ethic.
"He knows exactly who he is," Boyle said. "I'm at a loss for words to what was said.
"I've given this franchise everything I had. I love the area. I love the fans. But at the end of the day, I was misled and lied to and completely disrespected. When you threaten to be put on waivers and end up in Atlanta, it was an eye-opening situation for me."
Barrie said, "I don't think 'threatened' is the right word," and said the team followed league rules saying players with no-trade contracts can be put on waivers.
Beyond that, Barrie said he did not want to get into a back-and-forth.
"Any time you're in sports and leave a place where you love to play, there's going to be emotions," Barrie said. "I've played with Dan (with the Panthers). Dan's a good hockey player, but if Wayne Gretzky can be moved, that's the business. We wish Dan all the best. … He has 40-million reasons to be happy."
Boyle said he is happy ownership kept him informed after he waived his no-trade clause.
He said he spoke to San Jose's Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau and said he heard newly signed Rob Blake put in a word with its management.
But even that had its blip as ownership on Tuesday told Boyle's agent George Bazos his client would not be traded and on Thursday asked him to waive his no-trade clause.
Koules said that is because Sharks general manager Doug Wilson called on Wednesday.
Bazos declined comment.
"It's not one of those things where I sit there and hope Tampa Bay loses," Boyle said. "I'm just very unhappy with the way I was treated. It's sad."
Damian Cristodero can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meet Matt Carle
Hometown: Anchorage, Alaska
Notable: Had 11 goals, 42 points in 77 games for the Sharks in 2006-07. Slipped last season to two and 15. … Admitted he did not see eye to eye with coach Ron Wilson and was benched for 20 games. … Drafted No. 47 in 2003. … Brother of David Carle, who has a heart ailment but still was drafted 203rd overall last month by Tampa Bay.