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How To Act When Your Ex and Current Wives Are in the Same Room
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Dateline: Las Vegas, NV
Sunday, January 9, 2022

 

No doubt about it, the situation in the title will be uncomfortable for everyone in the room and last night it happened. Marc-André Fleury returned to a place where he is loved to this day, a place where he played 192 games during the team’s first 4 seasons, winning 117 of his career-total 502 games, the 3rd most in NHL history. He led them Vegas Golden Knights to a Stanley Cup Final in his first year here, which made the love affair that this city has with Flower off the charts.

The real question is who was more uncomfortable in last night’s Chicago win over the VGK by a score of 2-1?

Was it the 18,367 at T-Mobile who weren’t sure how to act, or who to cheer for? Or was it the VGK players who seemed completely uninterested in playing this game against their friend, whom they called Dude when they weren’t calling him Flower.

Fleury was without a doubt the heart and soul of the VGK on and off the ice. Truth be told, to many he still is. And that was on full display when the final buzzer sounded and the entire arena for the most part stood and cheered for him as he picked up a pink flower thrown onto the ice for him. He stopped and acknowledged the crowd and the crowd acknowledged him and what he did and what he has represented over the past 4 years. It will be a moment that will never be duplicated and if you were there, you’ll always remember how a city that some believe is just a place with neon lights and no memories or a soul showed exactly what love and loyalty are. Last night, Las Vegas wore their heart on their sleeves for all to see, especially the opponent’s goaltender.

In my opinion, yes, the players were the most uncomfortable. They were put in this position back on July 27 of last year when Fleury was traded to the Chicago Blackhawks for virtually nothing. Like any divorce, there were different sides and opinions, including the players. Of course, publicly, their lips are sealed. They have no choice. This is a team game and a fractured locker room would be devastating to a team that has its eyes completely focused on winning the Stanley Cup.

But Fleury’s $7 million-dollar salary was in the way of the Cup, especially for a team that had its sights set on Jake Eichel here as the missing piece to the Stanley puzzle, while also re-signing Alec Martinez on defense.

The game and the hype surrounding it never materialized—no acrobatic saves we’ve all gotten used to when 29 is in the net, no multiple lead changes that would have the fans on the edge of their seats, and no chance for a Fleury shutout, which I’m sure some VGK fans who hated the way he was treated by the organization would have loved to see. But Ben Hutton’s point shot snuck by Flower early in the first period on just the 3rd shot he faced, ironically Hutton’s first goal as a VGK. It was also the one and only goal that Fleury would let by him as the opposing goaltender at T-Mobile.

With last night’s loss, the VGK have now lost 3 of their last 4 games after winning 7 of their last 8. They seem out of sync recently and last night’s emotionally charged game didn’t help their cause. They looked good against the Rangers, but New York looked like a completely different team than the one I saw back east in mid-December. The Rangers arrived in Las Vegas on Tuesday for their Thursday night game and maybe, just maybe, a case of the Vegas Flu was in the air. This is pure speculation on my part, but going out for some late-night milkshakes could have been the problem. The VGK that we saw last night looked a lot like the way the Rangers looked on Thursday night: wanting to get this game in their rear-view mirror.

Other game notes and quotes.

“It was weird, obviously,” Fleury said post-game. “They’ve got a few new guys that I haven’t practiced with, but with all the guys I played hockey with every day pretty much for the past four years, it’s sometimes a bit of a mind game, because I know what they like to do and they know I know. Sometimes you overthink stuff, but obviously they’re a very good team, very talented.”

Then there was this. “It was good to get it out of the way quick,” he said about his video tribute, in which you could see the tears in his eyes. “Obviously, it’s just a few images and videos, but a lot of memories come through seeing that. I was really fortunate to have a great time here in Vegas. “I just wanted to say thank you to the fans for an amazing four years. They were awesome and I’m glad I got to say my thanks.”

Last night’s game was Fleury’s 906th in the NHL, which ties him with Glenn Hall for 7th most in NHL history.

With last night’s victory, Fleury has defeated all 32 NHL teams. A very exclusive honor to say the least.

My 3 stars of the game: Marc-Andre Fleury (the person), Marc-Andre Fleury (the goaltender, who stopped everything he faced except a shot he never saw from the point), Marc-Andre Fleury (the legend — most loved and admired VGK player today and most likely forever)

Next game is Tuesday January 11th at T-Mobile vs. Toronto at 7 p.m. After this game, the VGK will be off for 6 days.

Your comments and opinions are welcome here at Las Vegas Advisor or you may contact me directly at [email protected] or on my Facebook page or the Facebook page of Vegas Hockey Guy or on Twitter @TheRealJoePane

For more VGK content, check out the Hockey Knights in Vegas Podcast that can be found at this link or on my Facebook page.

One other note: If you’re reading this blog from Facebook or Twitter and would like to access it earlier in the morning before I share it on social media, it’s usually published by 8 a.m. the morning after a game on LasVegasAdvisor.com. What better way is there to enjoy your morning coffee than reading my take on last night’s VGK game.

Fleury video tribute
The only VGK goal, scored by Ben Hutton

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