After the Vegas Golden Knights lost 4 – 3 in game five of the Stanley Cup finals to the Washington Capitals, who as a result lifted their first Stanley Cup in franchise history, Marc-Andre Fleury had the difficult task of facing the media shortly after.
It’s never fun having to talk about a loss, but talking about one where the other side win what every team has fought since October to get makes it all that more tough.
But during his media scrum in the Golden Knights lockeroom, Fleury did something he didn’t need to.
He said sorry for not winning the cup.
“When you get so close to the cup and you miss your chance, it doesn’t come every year, it’s very disappointing” Fleury told reporters after the game.
When asked if he had a message for the fans, Fleury added “Thank you, thank you for all the support throughout the season from day one. You know they’ve been incredible, and…sorry, sorry we couldn’t bring it home.”
Obviously Fleury has every right to be upset he couldn’t get his name on the cup for a fourth time, this is the trophy every hockey player dreams of from junior, it’s the trophy every NHL team competes for every year, not the presidents trophy, the Stanley Cup.
But Fleury doesn’t need to apologise to anyone.
Remember, this is a Vegas team that a year ago was getting ready to pick who made their team in every position, they had two guys and they played a collective 3 NHL games this year.
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Fleury was always heading to Vegas, he’s got Matt Murray to thank for that in Pittsburgh. With the rise of Murray, Vegas was a fresh start for the 2003 first overall pick.
After winning three cups in Pittsburgh and then moving to Vegas, you’d be okay to assume he wouldn’t have a chance at a cup for a while.
This Vegas team wasn’t even meant to be in the playoffs let alone the Stanley Cup final.
Fleury had his struggles in the finals, but through the first three rounds he was the front runner for the Conn Smythe trophy.
Even when the finals were over, there was still an argument in favour of Fleury over the eventual winner Alex Ovechkin.
Fleury has no need to apologise for not bringing the Stanley Cup to Vegas.
What Fleury and the Golden Knights have done this season has not only been incredible for the league, but also for the city of Las Vegas.
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The tragic events of October 1st gave the Golden Knights the opportunity to become a symbol of recovery in the city. Visiting blood banks, hospitals and being that shoulder to cry on. These were men new to the city other than Deryk Engelland, these were men with no real connection to the city yet.
By the time their first game came around on October 10th, these men had already helped the city move on. The fantastic opening ceremony celebrating the first responders rather than the start of the franchise, the speech by Engelland, Vegas really lived up to Vegas Strong.
What they’ve done this season has been nothing short of incredible.
They went from a bunch of misfits and castaways to Western Conference Champions, they did the impossible and showed that league expansion doesn’t have to be a long and drawn out process anymore.
Fleury was a huge part of the Golden Knights success and will continue to be in the future.
He does not need to apologise, he just needs to enjoy the offseason.
He’s earned it.
The Vegas Golden Knights didn’t lift the cup, but they definitely lifted the city.