Fleury is a Golden Knight

Marc-Andre Fleury will be in a black and gold (very gold) jersey next year, but the arid desert of Sin City is where he’ll be between the pipes, far from the confluence of the three rivers in Pittsburgh. Seeing Fleury don a garish, gold-leaf flecked Vegas Golden Knights jersey isn’t a comfortable sight, but it is necessary. After all, Matt Murray is the Penguin’s guy. He’s Mike Sullivan’s guy. And no one can deny that he’s not just the future in Pittsburgh, he’s the now. But, for as many four-lettered words that I lobbed at Fleury during his time with the Pens (particularly during playoff series in 2011 and 2012), I won’t forget his enormous contribution to the team over the last 12 years. The moment permanently etched in memory is Fleury heaving himself to his right in order to block a desperate shot from Henrik Zetterberg in Game 7 of the 2009 Stanley Cup Final. Even though his play has been a crap shoot over the last few years, when the Pens needed him to step in for Matt Murray this post-season, he redeemed himself by delivering his best playoff performance in years.¬†With 375 wins for the Pens under his belt, and 500 on the horizon in a different uniform, Fleury has an indelible NHL legacy. And, yes, if Matt Murray has a bad stretch or is injured in the near future, the second-guessers in Yinzerland will wonder “what if?” But that’s simply the DNA of sports fans in this area. The Pens are a better team with Matt Murray in net now, and evidence proves it. That doesn’t mean we can’t appreciate what Fleury meant to the team and the city. So, instead of saying good bye, I’ll just say, Thanks, Flower.