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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Has Marc Andre Fleury really lost it?

We are all well aware of Marc Andre Fleury's struggles this year. We also know his backup, Brent Johnson, has been almost lights out in net. So what should the Penguins do with their "franchise" and big money goaltender? This isnt a question easily answered. Coach Byslma tried getting Fleury some playing time by starting him back to back last weekend. That ended in a loss for one game and Fleury getting pulled after 7 minutes the next game. So has Fleury really became the worst goaltender in the league over the summer? His numbers indicate that. A 1-6 record, a 3.55 GAA which is 36th in the league, a .853 save percentage which is dead last in the NHL.  Not good! So what is the deal with Fleury and how should Coach Byslma handle the goalie situation? Here is my take...Play him!

Obviously you dont want to give up on the season. You dont want to waste points trying to resurrect a player.  You don't want a red hot goalie(Johnson) sitting on the bench while another goalie(Fleury) loses games time after time. However, Fleury has proven himself before. He has been a big game goaltender. He has a penchant for giving up soft goals, but he also has stood on his head and makes some unbelievable saves. He has a career record of 149-112-2. His playoff record is 38-24. He has won a Stanley Cup. This preseason he went 3-0 with a 1.80 GAA. The guy has it in him. He is simply going through the worst stretch in his career. 

Martin Brodeur once said "My belief is goalies won't have slumps if they play every single game. The game isn't that hard. You will get one good game to get your confidence back if you are playing all of the time." This was an excerpt from a great article in the USAToday

This is true. Sometimes you gotta work through your problems and like Brodeur said, all it takes 
sometimes is one good game. Right now, Fleury is losing his confidence and the confidence of the coach. One person who has not given up on Fleury is Captain Sidney Crosby. He also is of the belief Fleury needs to be in there. In the Tribune Review today, there is an article that talks about Crosby's and Coach Bylsma's different philosophy on this. Crosby is quoted in the story as saying "He's going to have good games. It's not like he can change overnight. He's going to put strings of games together, and he can't do that with one game. So, you've got to be patient, too, and let him get back there.With a goalie, you've got to give him time. He's got to play four or five games maybe to prove that, but to sit here and question his psyche doesn't really give him a chance." I think Crosby knows what he is talking about. 

So while we are all frustrated and tired of the first or second opponents shot getting past Fleury, I believe he still has a ton of talent and will be the goaltender who leads this team by seasons end. Will he let an easy shot in here or there? Sure. But will he also stop an Alexander Ovechkin breakaway in a game 7 of the playoffs? You damn right he will. We need to stick with this guy and let him work through this. We will all be better off if this happens. 

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  1. Career 149-112-2. That is 56.6%. That's awful.

    Playoffs 38-24. That is 61.2%. Not much better.

  2. Fleury's playoff record is actually pretty good compared to some other goalies. I pulled up 3 player...Martin Brodeur is 99-82 for 54.7%...Patrick Roye was 151-94 for 61.6%..and Tom Barrasso was 61-54 for 53%...Not saying Fleury is as good at this point as Patrick Roye, but in the playoffs, Fleury's record matches up!

  3. The Penguins have two problems.The First is that since two years ago when they won the cup, many teams have gotten much,much better and the Penguins have not.The main reason is that their past success has hurt the entry draft. When you can choose in the top 1 to 4 players,you get instant talent.Crosby,Malkin,Stall! When you draft 20th to 30th,you can not get that talent!With the new Console Center sold out every night and Pittsburgh being a rich Franchise, why don't they use their $$$ and trade up for draft picks? Pittsburgh should draft from the top 10 positions every year.Higher the better!
    Secondily, I would try to trade Fleury and Kuntz for a proven physical scoring winger and a young up coming winger.For example: LA's Dustin Brown and Brayden Schenn. That would leave Pittsburgh with about 4.5 million in cap space to get another back uo goalie and money left over to upgrade another forward to play with Malkin.
    Shero is right that Crosby,Malkin.and Stall are hard to play against when they each center their own line.They need some scoring wingers if they want to advance past the second round of the Playoffs.
    Right now,the Flyers,Bruins,Capitals,even the Devils have improved alot. It will be a tough year for the Pens,but I beleive Shero will make some deals to upgrade the wings.