The 2018 Stanley Cup Finals is upon us. Unfortunately the Pittsburgh Penguins did not make the last dance this year, as their season was cut short by the eventual Eastern Conference Champions Washington Capitals.
It’s no surprise that many in Pittsburgh are cheering loudly for former Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury and the Golden Knights throughout this season and the playoffs. If you haven’t made up your mind, or are looking for more reasons in addition to just rooting for Marc-Andre Fleury, here’s a list for you.
Fleury isn’t the only former Penguin player on the Golden Knights
While Marc-Andre Fleury is definitely the most prominent former Pittsburgh Penguins on the Golden Knights, but he is joined by former teammates James Neal, David Perron, and Deryk Engelland. Additionally, although they never played together on the Penguins, the Golden Knights are home to former Penguin’s tough guy Ryan Reaves. Reaves or Engelland may get to pay an extra special homage to Pittsburgh, by taking on Tom Wilson in fisticuffs.
Something like this may never happen again
It’s easy to describe just how unprecedented what the Vegas Golden Knights accomplished this season is. “Historic.” “Monumental.” “Record-breaking.” Stop and take a second, think back to the beginning of the season, and about where the Golden Knights have come from. I’d be hard-pressed to find many people who believed they’d make the playoffs, let alone be in the final. Rolling through Los Angeles, San Jose, and Winnipeg was no small feat either. The Golden Knights have had an incredible inaugural season, why not end it with a Stanley Cup championship? The owners around the league might not let future expansion teams have the same shot when it comes to the expansion draft, so it truly might be a once in a lifetime opportunity.
It’s the Capitals and Ovechkin, I mean, come on!
I’m sorry, but I’m done with the whole “Ovechkin deserves a Cup” shtick. No, he doesn’t. He’s played great this postseason, by all means being the leader that the Capitals have sorely needed, but no, he doesn’t deserve the cup, not yet. One postseason, out of how many, and he’s finally playing like he’s expected to. Good for him and good for the Capitals, but that doesn’t mean you deserve a cup. The Capitals still boast Tom Wilson, who will probably try to decapitate someone this series. They still have TJ Oshie, who has probably not stopped complaining about the officials.
One more thing. I really hope I don’t hear any Penguins fans rooting for the Capitals and Ovechkin to get the cup, simply because in my many years as a Penguin’s fan, I’ve never once heard a Capitals fan say something to the extent of “yeah, that Lemieux/Jagr/Crosby is great, and he should win the cup if the Capitals don’t.” Instead, Capitals fans do their best impersonation of Flyers fans and decorated the urinals at the Capital One Arena with the likeness of our captain.
Less than a week before their first game of the franchise, the city of Las Vegas saw a shooting that claimed the lives of 58 and wounded many more. At their first home game, nine days after the shooting, the Golden Knights spent much of their pre-game opening ceremony focusing and honoring the victims of the shooting.
Many months and many shootings later, this team is still playing for the city and community that suffered that night. We were all #VegasStrong to start the season, no reason we’re not all in this together at the end.
Cup presentation, parade, and the banner raising
If you’ve watched a Vegas Golden Knights game this year, and tuned in early enough, you likely watched one of the flashiest pre-game spectacles in hockey memory. Light shows, projections, homages to the pizazz and flash of Vegas, the Blue Man Group, and a Knight facing off against his foes at center ice have all made up some of the pre-game rituals for the franchise.
Now take a minute and imagine what Vegas would do to celebrate. The possibilities are endless. The Stanley Cup presentation (if on home ice) would likely be wild and a performance of its own. Think about a parade, led by Fleury, down the Vegas strip celebrating the victory, with all that Vegas has to offer. Lastly, picture what the banner raising ceremony would look like with one of the more innovative teams in the league.