During Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final, I was multi-tasking, trying to get some work done while watching the Washington Capitals and Vegas Golden Knights battle it out for professional hockey supremacy. The Caps got the jump on the Knights, building a 3-0 first-period lead, which prompted a few hockey “experts” on Twitter to call on Vegas coach Gerard Gallant to replace starting goalie Marc-Andre Fleury. I had to laugh.
Fleury, the Pittsburgh Penguins castoff, had almost single-handedly willed the expansion Knights through the first three rounds of the playoffs. While some pundits lamented that an expansion team making the finals somehow put the league in a bad light, I saw things differently. First, it was a testament to hockey being a team sport that actually put the emphasis on “team” rather than individual stars. Second, Fleury’s performance re-emphasized the importance of having a hot goaltender in the playoffs.