There was some serious concern about the health of star goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury this week and for good reason, but thankfully the Las Vegas Golden Knights netminder, and arguably the face of their franchise, has seemingly avoided the worst of it.
On Thursday we got multiple updates on the status of Fleury, and while initially they did not sound promising we did finally get some good news before the end of the day. Things kicked off on Thursday morning when Fleury was spotted skating at City National Arena for roughly 30 minutes, although he was not wearing any equipment when he did so. Fleury was out on the ice with injured Golden Knights forward Reilly Smith and both men were just stick-handling with pucks and firing shots at the empty net.
That news was quickly followed by the fact that we finally received confirmation, courtesy of Sin Bin Vegas, that Fleury was in fact put through the National Hockey League's concussion protocol on Tuesday when he left the game with an apparent head injury. This would indicate that there was in fact concern over the fact that Fleury may have suffered yet another concussion, but the good news here is that he appears to have passed that test.
When Fleury left the ice after taking a hard shot to the head from 29-year-old Vancouver Canucks center Brandon Sutter many suspected that another concussion was the reason behind his departure. That situation was made even more confusing when Golden Knights head coach Gerard Gallant tried to play off Fleeury's departure from the game as part of his plan to rest the veteran goalie.
Needless to say no one was buying Gallant's excuse about rest and it wasn't until nearly a full day later that he did admit Fleury had suffered some kind of "upper-body injury." The Golden Knights also called up goaltender Oscar Dansk on Wednesday which may have forced the honesty out of Gallant, and also indicated that the veteran goaltender would be missing at least one game as a result of his injury.
While all of that sounds bad I did say that Fleury has avoided the worst of it, and on Thursday the Golden Knights appeared to confirm that the injury wasn't going to be particularly serious, despite the fact that as I mentioned he's going to miss some time at the very least. After the morning skate on Thursday head coach Gerard Gallant confirmed that Fleury would be traveling with the team on their upcoming road trip, a very good sign indeed.
Now we don't know when Fleury is expected to return to the line up, but the mere fact that he is joining up with the members of his team at some point tomorrow in Colorado is an indication that he is very close to a return to the line up. The reaction around Fleury injuries is always an interesting one, not only is he arguably the most popular player on the entire Golden Knights franchise, but he also appears to be one of the most widely respected and widely loved players in the entire NHL.
This time thankfully the news is good news.
Photo Credit: Chris Szagola/CSM/Zuma