The Pittsburgh Penguins are eagerly awaiting their Thursday night matchup against the Vegas Golden Knights. The first thing that may jump to your mind is that the game is in Vegas and players couldn't be any more pleased about that.
But there's a much different, and more significant reason for their excitement.
Marc-Andre Fleury has been activated off IR after sustaining a concussion midway through October, and as Sidney Crosby predicted, he will almost certainly get the start against his former team.
“I just want him to be better,” Sidney Crosby said according to Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “Having gone through that, you want to be as healthy as possible as soon as possible. I know he’s made some good strides and some positive steps. As long as he continues to get better, I’m sure he’s got a date in mind. It may have something to do with us. We’ll see what happens. But I just hope he’s healthy. That’s the main thing.”
Tom Kuhnkhackl recalls the time Fleury pranked him and had fans write all over his car with chalk markers. Bryan Rust remembers the time when Fleury stole his clothes and hung them out to dry in the arena's rafters. Mackey also shares Jeff Zatkoff's memory of Fleury swapping the labels on a deodorant and hair spray can.
“He’s one of the funniest guys I’ve ever met,” Kuhnhackl said to Mackey. “A great character guy.”
Mackey had all sorts of great quotes from the Flower's former teammates, probably best of all coming from Bryan Rust.
“He was the epitome of a great teammate,” Rust said. “He could tell when guys weren’t feeling the greatest or their confidence was down. He was always there to help with that, whether it was something he said or just lightening the mood at practice."
When it comes to game time, Pittsburgh will give Fleury everything they have, but you know there are going to be some stick taps, smiles, laughs, and hugs throughout the night.