This sounds potentially very not good for Marc-Andre Fleury and his Pacific-leading Vegas Golden Knights. The goaltender took a shot to the mask in the first period of Tuesday’s game, and did not return after intermission. And now head coach Gerard Gallant says Fleury is not traveling with the team, while Vegas has called up another goalie.
Gallant confirmed that Fleury was injured on this play, a shot by Brandon Sutter:
The Golden Knights won’t say anything about the nature of Fleury’s injury, but let’s just go ahead and use the C-word. This is particularly worrying, because Fleury’s got a recent history of concussions. He’s had three officially diagnosed ones, and presumably more. He suffered one around this point of the season in 2016, and was out for the first two-plus rounds of the Penguins’ Stanley Cup run. He suffered another this past October, and missed 25 games. Brain injuries are tricky to begin with, but the more of them you get, the more serious the effects of the next can be.
Gallant wouldn’t come close to putting a timetable on when Fleury will rejoin the team.
“I’m not getting into specifics of what he is doing, but he’s not going to come [to San Jose] today,” Gallant said. “He could join us tomorrow or in the very near future. He’s not coming on our plane today. He could be there tomorrow. He could be there the next day. I’m not sure.”
Malcolm Subban will start in Fleury’s absence, and VGK has called up Oscar Dansk to be the backup. Dansk had great numbers in very limited action early in the season, when Vegas was forced to use five different netminders—and kept winning at an absurd rate—but Fleury’s clearly their best netminder, and a significant step up from Subban. There are nine games remaining in the regular season and Vegas has an eight-point lead in the Pacific, so their seeding is probably safe, but the last thing this surprising expansion team wants to do is start the playoffs without their top goalie.