The NHL’s Expansion Draft is now a distant memory. The moment Marc-Andre Fleury was taken by the Vegas Golden Knights, it assured in the era of Matt Murray. It has been a hard pill to swallow for some fans. It’s been really hard for some others. It’s definitely been an adjustment getting used to seeing someone taking their place between the pipes that’s not wearing a 29 sweater.
It’s not a secret that this season has been somewhat of a roller coaster for the Penguins. It’s not been until the last month or so that the team has found any kind of consistency. Murray is not exempt from that.
It’s been an up and down year for the 23 year-old netminder. On the ice for sure, but even more so off the ice. Several days ago, Murray took an indefinite leave of absence from the team to mourn the death of his father James Murray. Twenty-three is far too young to lose a parent. No one should expect Murray to be the same goaltender for a while as he processes this.
That’s not Matt Murray though. Murray’s maturity is staggering. We’ve seen it ever since he came to Pittsburgh. Through the whole goaltending controversy that went on when Fleury was here, he handled it like a true professional. And it did not affect his on-ice performance.
Murray made his return to the lineup on Tuesday night. He made 40 saves and only allowed two goals, which were both on the penalty kill. It was an emotional night for him, but when Murray is on the ice, expect a mature man to handle his business. He’s shown it time and time again that through adversity, he can stand tall. He’s a two-time Stanley Cup winner.
Few can imagine what he is going through right now. The best thing fans of the Penguins can do right now is support Murray. Fans should not be continuing to yearn for Fleury, or crying to ride with the “hot hand.” It’s Murray’s net. It will continue to be his net. The Penguins have invested in Murray. Using nostalgia to argue against Murray while he is trying to continue on after the death of this father is sickening.
Matt Murray is a mature young man; way beyond his years. Let’s try to follow in his footsteps and be mature as well. Let’s enjoy watching him be the Penguins’ franchise goaltender. Let’s cheer him when he stands on his head, and give him the same kind of support Fleury got from fans when he struggles. Cheers to you, Matt Murray. We could learn a lot from you.