Mike Sullivan Thinks We Are Dumb Enough To Believe That He Played Marc-Andre Fleury To Give Matt Murray A Rest
SportingNews- It's simple enough, Sullivan seemed to say on Wednesday, after his team tied the series 3-3 and forced a Game 7 at Consol Energy Center. Murray needed a rest, and they felt like that outweighed the risk of starting Fleury for the first time since March 31.
"Matt played a lot of hockey," Sullivan said. "He played a lot of games. This is a battle you're playing every other night. If it was the regular season, we probably wouldn't play our starting goalie that many games in a row. As a young goaltender, sometimes that's a tough load to carry."
"(We) felt as though it was the right time for Marc, to give him an opportunity to get back in the game and try to win us a hockey game, and we were going to take it game by game," Sullivan said. "And we explained that to Matt, and we explained that to Marc. So our communication lines are very open with these guys. They understand where they're at. They also understand that they're both critically important to helping us win, and we value what they bring to this team."
You know what's worse than a Head Coach overthinking things and inevitably creating an unnecessary goaltender controversy when his team's season hangs in the balance? Lying about it. Mike Sullivan can tell me until he's blue in the face that he thought Matt Murray needed a breather, but I'll be damned if I'm going to believe that the "rain" running down my back isn't his very own piss. Not when the game in question is a Game 5 at home with the series knotted at two apiece. That's undoubtedly not the time to potentially risk the outcome of a conference final for no other reason than to give a professional - that played all of THIRTEEN regular season games - a recuperation day.
The goaltender switch was clearly made in hopes of inspiring his team to perform better. That's the only reason to start a goalie that was bound to bring an inferior level of play while making his initial return to the lineup after a two month absence. As dumb of a reason as I happen to think that is, it's infinitely better than putting your team at odds because you think a 21 year old kid is too tired to play 14 straight games in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. I am almost insulted by his implication that someone as young and spry as Matt Murray would need a night off when his lifelong dream hangs in the balance.
Want to impress me Mike Sullivan? Come out and tell me that you simply made the incorrect decision, and your team - led by Matt Murray - saved your ass in Tampa Bay by giving you another opportunity to win an all too important game at home. A coach's job is to make an insane amount of tough decisions so I can admire when they admit that they made the wrong one. What I can't do is stand by while they ask me to ignore what I saw with my own two eyes in an attempt to tell me they were actually right all along.