Marc-Andre Fleury is keeping busy the best he can.
Capitalizing off his carpentry skills, which he even said himself he “sucks” at, Fleury has built a trampoline in the backyard to pass the time during the NHL’s pause amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sometimes, it’s discovering the smallest things for Fleury, whose wife Veronique and their three kids have had to make the most of being cooped up at home. Fleury has done some mountain biking, as well as roller blading while pushing his baby boy in a stroller.
It’s been 15 days since the NHL suspended operations, proactively enforcing safety precautions during the coronavirus outbreak. At the time of the pause, the Golden Knights were first place in the Pacific Division, three points ahead of the Edmonton Oilers with 11 games remaining.
Stars like Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby have made a claim, should the NHL resume play at some point, to forego the final games of the 82-game slate and jump right into the playoffs. Vegas would play the Winnipeg Jets in the first round should that be the case.
But Fleury is of the mindset that, especially from a goalie’s perspective, the NHL should resume with the season as planned.
“I would like to play some games,” Fleury said. “I think the biggest thing for a goalie is timing. Whatever you do in the summer, you can train and practice, but when you get to training camp, that’s when you see NHL shots. That’s something you’ve got to catch up on. It’d be nice to have a few to get back into it.”
The three captains are in a different mindset than Fleury — the Kings, Ducks and Sharks are well out of the playoff picture. It might not matter to them at this stage of their careers if they’re not playing for the Stanley Cup. Getzlaf (34) and Kopitar (32) have logged the miles to win the Cup before, while Couture (30) is going to miss the playoffs for the first time in his NHL career.
“I don’t think we’re the youngest guys on this call anymore, so we’d probably need a few games to just get loosened up and get back into the speed of everything,” Kopitar said. “You want to play a few games to get into the thick of things. I don’t think starting the playoffs right away would be the best idea.”
Fleury also spoke on the current state of Las Vegas, which has essentially shut down from a tourism and casino perspective. The two driving forces of the Las Vegas economy are on an indefinite standstill. Couture experienced firsthand an NHL city shut down before any other — San Jose was the first city to put a ban on all mass gatherings, which included Sharks games.
“It’s a city that thrives on having people in town and so many people work in that business, in the hotels and stuff, and right now nobody’s making money, and everybody went home,” Fleury said. “It’s definitely a tough time for people in Vegas right now.”
The three captains are keeping busy, as well. Couture started a book club, Kopitar has been spending time with his family as his kids are homeschooled, and Getzlaf built a chicken coop because his wife was tired of borrowing eggs from the neighbors.
When asked if he had any words for fans, Fleury said hockey will be back at some point, but self-care is the top priority.
“Right now, just take care of yourself, your family. Stay healthy, stay safe,” he said. “That’s all that matters.”