Order and presenters for tonight’s NHL Awards: pic.twitter.com/BXf0zY7yxE— Travis Hughes (@TravisSBN) June 21, 2017
OK, the good news is that members of the Pittsburgh Penguins are in Las Vegas tonight with the Stanley Cup for some awards. Sidney Crosby will accept the Maurice Richard trophy since he was the league's leading goal scorer this season.
In sadder news, it's been rumored that Marc-Andre Fleury has flown out there today as well, and will be on-hand as the new chapter of his career begins when he will be selected as the Vegas Golden Knights expansion pick from the Pens. That will be tough to watch and see as he physically becomes the face of a franchise for a different franchise.
Ironically, 14 years ago to the day today, Pittsburgh first got to see Fleury live and in person as the Pens selected him with the #1 overall pick in the NHL Entry Draft. Now they prepare to lose him in an expansion draft. In between, 3 Cups were won, countless saves made and corny enough, smiles along the way. Sure there were tribulations and tough times too, but that's sure to fade from memory now.
Also ironic was that the 2003 draft was held in Nashville. The Penguins were drafting first (through a trade from #3) but still were among the worst teams in the league and about to bottom out. To continue with the theme of having everything go full circle, Fleury's last game in a Pens jersey was also in Nashville, but this time as the league's best team in winning a Cup - a feat made possible by his excellent play in Rounds 1 and 2 of the playoffs.
But all good things must come to an end and tonight is sure bound to be more bitter than sweet for Pittsburgh fans. The team gains a very valuable $5.75 million in salary cap space for the next two years, but loses a huge part of their big goofy-grinned, smack-talking, prank-pulling identity when the best goalie the franchise has ever seen moves along.
So we'll treat this as an open thread for tonight's events and actions, let's critique what Vegas does and who the awards go to, all the good stuff.