Golden Knights goalie Marc-Andre Fleury asked agent Allan Walsh to delete a tweet that implied he had strong feelings about the team’s goalie rotation.
Walsh, Fleury’s longtime agent since he was 15 years old, tweeted a photo Saturday of Fleury stabbed in the back by a sword with Vegas coach Peter DeBoer’s name on the blade.
“He stands up for his players and that is admirable...but that was a personal assault on Peter DeBoer...offside in every single regard.”@CraigJButton on Allan Walsh’s tweet of client Marc-Andre Fleury with a ‘DeBoer’ sword through his back: https://t.co/qGNNdENpyO#TSNHockey pic.twitter.com/7BORLop6ms— TSN Hockey (@TSNHockey) August 23, 2020
Walsh deleted the tweet prior to Fleury taking five questions from a Zoom session at the podium at Rogers Place in Edmonton. The goalie answered four questions in English and one in French. Fleury said he requested that Walsh take the photo down.
“I just wanted to say that Allan’s been my agent for a long time,” Fleury said. “We’re always very close. I think he’s a guy that always protects, cares about his players and does about me, also.”
The picture in question was in reference to DeBoer’s handling of the Golden Knights’ goalie situation between Fleury and deadline acquisition Robin Lehner. The Golden Knights, who begin a seven-game second round series with the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday, are 7-1 in the Stanley Cup Playoffs as the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference.
Lehner has started all but two games from Vegas’ five-game win against the Chicago Blackhawks in the first round and a 3-0 sweep in the round robin portion of the Stanley Cup Qualifiers. Lehner is 6-1 with a .904 save percentage and 2.44 goals-against average.
Fleury, who made 26 saves in a Game 3 victory against Chicago, did not confirm if he knew about the picture nor Walsh’s intent to tweet it.
“We’ve been talking throughout the playoffs,” Fleury said. “Obviously I love playing, I love being in the net. He’s been on Twitter a long time and he’s just trying to protect me a bit.”
If this sounds like deja vu, it’s pretty close. It was only four years ago when Fleury, the longtime starter for the Pittsburgh Penguins, was supplanted for young goalie Matt Murray. Murray was the starter in Pittsburgh’s back-to-back Cups while Fleury was on the bench. Fleury was left unprotected in the 2017 expansion draft and for Vegas to select him.
It’s not like Fleury has been a horrid playoff performer with Vegas; he’s 18-11 in three years including a .920 save percentage. and a trip to the Stanley Cup Final in his back pocket.
Fleury said he’s hoping to move on and do whatever he can to help his team. No starter has been determined by DeBoer leading up to Game 1, but with no back-to-backs in the near future, it’s expected Lehner will start. He addressed the issue Saturday with DeBoer, Lehner and Golden Knights general manager Kelly McCrimmon on Saturday and made said he does not want to be a distraction for his teammates going forward.
“I’ve known these guys for a little while now,” Fleury said. “I told them all I care about is winning and [what’s] the best for the team and I think they know that.”