On Saturday afternoon Allan Walsh, the agent for Vegas Golden Knights goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, attempted to go to bat for his client by sending a Tweet that created just a bit of attention around the NHL.
The Tweet in question featured a photoshopped Fleury being impaled by a giant, bloody sword with the name of Golden Knights coach Peter DeBoer written on it. The suggestion being that Fleury had been stabbed in the back by the coach who has chosen to ride with Robin Lehner as the team’s primary goalie in the playoffs.
On Sunday, Walsh deleted the Tweet and Fleury addressed the matter before Game 1 of their Second Round series against the Vancouver Canucks.
Fleury said that he asked Walsh to delete it.
Here is a screengrab of the now-deleted Tweet.
“Regarding that picture, I just wanted to say that Allan has been my agent for a long time,” said Fleury on Sunday. “I’ve known him since I was 15 and I really appreciate his passion for the game. I think it was a way to defend me for not playing much, but I’m here to win with my team.”
Fleury would not say if he had prior knowledge of Walsh’s plan to post the picture and it remained posted until just before Fleury’s media availability on Sunday. That was a stretch of nearly 24 hours.
Fleury had been Vegas’ primary starting goalie — and the face of the franchise — from its first day in the league during the 2017-18 season and backstopped the team to the Stanley Cup Final in its inaugural season.
His play has taken a bit of a step back this season, and with limited quality goaltending depth behind him the Golden Knights made the decision to acquire Lehner from the Chicago Blackhawks at the NHL trade deadline. During the stretch run of the regular season the two goalies had been involved in a rotation that split the playing time, but Lehner — who has been the better goalie this season — has taken over the starting job in the playoffs with six of the first eight starts. It is expected he will also start Game 1 on Sunday night against the Canucks.
This is not unfamiliar territory for Fleury. His tenure with the Pittsburgh Penguins came to an end with him taking a back seat to Matt Murray during the 2015-16 and 2016-17 playoffs when the Penguins won back-to-back Stanley Cups. While Fleury played a significant role in the latter championship run, starting the first two rounds and playing exceptionally well, he was eventually replaced by Murray. He appeared in just two games, starting only one, during the 2015-16 postseason.
“We all want to win, that’s why we’re here,” said Fleury. “I really like Robin. We have a good friendship and I think he’s a really good goalie also. There are no hard feelings.”
Lehner responded to the Golden Knights’ Tweet highlight that quote with a baby panda bear trying to hug a person’s leg.
Just another day in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
No. 1 Vegas Golden Knights vs. No. 5 Vancouver Canucks
Game 1: Sunday, Aug. 23, 10:30 p.m. ET – NBCSN (Livestream)
Game 2: Tuesday, Aug. 25, 9:45 p.m. ET – NBCSN
Game 3: Thursday, Aug. 27, 9:45 p.m. ET – NBCSN
Game 4: Saturday, Aug. 29, 8 p.m. ET – NBCSN
*Game 5: Monday, Aug. 31 – TBD
*Game 6: Tuesday, Sept. 1 – TBD
*Game 7: Thursday, Sept. 3 – TBD
Marc-Andre Fleury asks agent to delete controversial Tweet originally appeared on NBCSports.com