As per tradition, at the first television timeout the Pittsburgh Penguins were going to show a “thank you” video to honor a returning player who helped them win a Stanley Cup. Happens every time the first time a champ returns to the ‘Burgh. On the night the Vegas Golden Knights came to town, it’s a special one, as goalie Marc-Andre Fleury the Pens #1 overall pick in 2003 was back in Pittsburgh for the first time as an opponent. The video was expected to be good, and it did not disappoint.
Three-time Stanley Cup Champion.— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) February 7, 2018
Two-time Penguins MVP.
One incredible goaltender and human being.
Thank you for everything, Flower. pic.twitter.com/sXSFwmmUeP
Here’s what it looked and felt like in the building during the video, from our own @MikeDarnay
Not a dry eye was left in PPG Paints arena after Fleury’s tribute video dropped, including the Flower himself. pic.twitter.com/BaS1N6bu4Y— PensBurgh (@Pensburgh) February 7, 2018
The television broadcast even stayed away from commercial so that the fans at home and around the country and world watching would be able to watch as well. That’s pretty special and a very cool nod from AT&T Sportsnet who showed live Fleury watching the video and then responding to the fans loud ovations by touching his glove to his chest and raising his stick.
massive standing ovation and the crowd is again chanting Fleury’s name pic.twitter.com/MyFzyqcA95— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) February 7, 2018
The standing ovation lasted for over a minute and the refs even delayed the puck drop for a beat longer than normal, giving fans a chance to cheer and Fleury a chance to use a bare hand to wipe away his eyes. Luckily for him, the ensuing faceoff was down in the Pittsburgh defensive zone so he had a bit of time to compose himself.
Thank you for everything, Fleury. pic.twitter.com/P5XAAwn62t— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) February 7, 2018
“I have had such great support here over the years,” Fleury said before the game. “Through the good and through the bad. The people have always been very supportive of me, always cheering me on. So I think it will be fun.”
Tuesday was a homecoming for the whole MAF clan. Along with Marc-Andre coming back to play, his wife, two small children (locally famous for co-starring with mom and dad in commercials), parents and sister all returned to Pittsburgh for this game.
Team owner Mario Lemieux got to catch up with the gang and awarded Fleury with his 2017 Stanley Cup ring after the Vegas morning skate. It’s a ring the Penguins organization would not have won without Fleury’s contributions to beat Columbus and Washington.