Obviously I never want to say nice things about the Pittsburgh Penguins. But credit where credit is due, the city turned out for Marc-Andre Fleury tonight. Obviously the last couple of years in Pittsburgh were a little weird for Flower. He won the team a Stanley Cup in 2009. Then he got wally pipped by Matt Murray 2016 and was on the bench to win his 2nd Stanley Cup, and he’d go on to watch the Penguins win the Stanley Cup from the bench again in 2017. You don’t get to the NHL if you’re not a competitor so I’m sure that somewhere in Fleury’s soul, he wasn’t thrilled with the fact that he wasn’t the guy between the pipes to win those last 2 Stanley Cups. But from everything I’ve seen and heard, he handled getting his job taken from him by Matt Murray better than anybody could ever ask him to. He could have easily brought down the entire vibe of the team and pouted for a couple of seasons while demanding a trade, but he continued to be a great teammate and clearly that worked for the Pens.
But he still wanted to be a starting goaltender in this league so when the expansion draft came up, the Penguins left him exposed and he became the initial face of the Vegas Golden Knights franchise. It was a completely amicable breakup which you don’t really get to see too often in sports. No hard feelings on either side of the breakup which leads to this moment from tonight. His first game back in Pittsburgh after getting picked up by Vegas. Pittsburgh made sure the arena was packed tonight and gave him an ovation worthy of a goalie who helped lead their team to 3 Stanley Cup championships. It was pretty awesome to see Fleury try to fight back tears behind his mask. You can tell how much that city means to him and how much he meant to that city. Again, I don’t want to say nice things about Pittsburgh but I’m a sucker for shit like this.
Ryan Shazier is also in the building and he’s standing. So yeah, pretty cool night for Pittsburgh