How is it possible that I don’t love Matt Murray? How is it possible that I, a Penguins fan, only somewhat like the goalie that pitched two shut-out games to win the Penguins fifth Stanley Cup? How is it possible that I am only lukewarm on a young player with a future that will likely portend a Hall of Fame career with my hometown team? What is preventing me from wanting to go all in on Matt Murray?
I’m afraid I’m just a Fleury guy.
I’ll preface this by saying that treating two NHL goalies like they are warring factions of hot vampires in a Twilight movie is dumb at best. Picking sides is best reserved for games of Red Rover. After all is said and done, someone’s leaving with a dislocated shoulder.
The team is to be held above all else. The logo is what we want to succeed. The shield, the crest, the symbol of a collective of which we are associated by being born in a hospital with a (412) area code. The group is important. The lines of individuality are to be blurred in order to produce winners in sports and life. Yet, I don’t care about the team. I care about Fluery. For he is me. He is all of us.
As a somewhat hyperbolic person who could find symbolism in a old sock, it has become clear to me that the reason we cling to a man who has become a back-up goaltender, is that he represents the unfair passing of our time on Earth.
In 2015 he was having a career year, until a fluke injury before the playoffs put him on the bench. In stepped Matt Murray, the new model. As Fleury healed, Matt Murray flourished. He all but led the Penguins to a Stanley Cup victory. And as soon as Fluery was ready to go, the team had already moved on. It is this that we Fleury fans are truly upset about.
You can lie to yourself and say that you think Fleury is a better goalie or that you liked his UPMC commercials. But the real reason you don’t want Fleury to go, the reason that sits a few layers below the reason you say out loud, is that you don’t want to go. We are not upset at Matt Murray. We are not upset at coaches or Penguins Front Office. We are upset that this life is somehow allowed to eat the orange and throw away the peel.
I’m a Fleury guy because I don’t want life to happen to us this way. Through pure circumstance, to lose our spot on the team. We know the day is coming that we will be relegated to the bench. Or worse, cut. Fate is unfair; Time is inequitable. Yet Fate is inevitable; Time is natural. And they are both happening to us right this very moment.
Even as we lace up our skates and go through our daily routines, we can all see that young goalie sitting on the bench, waiting to seize his opportunity and send us off to some Golden City in a wasteland far away.
I can accept that life is thus. But I don’t have to like it.
That is why I’m a Fleury guy.
TL;DR – Marc Andre Fleury symbolizes your life. Matt Murray symbolizes time. Las Vegas represents Hell, I guess. The crease…represents something too…