Marc-Andre Fleury: The Pressure Is On and Haters Hate by @MadChad412 - PensInitiative | Pittsburgh Penguins Blog | Rumors | News

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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Marc-Andre Fleury: The Pressure Is On and Haters Hate by @MadChad412

The blame game is the most common game played among a fan-base when their favorite team loses. In Pittsburgh, when the Steelers or Penguins lose, there are usually only one or two guys that get 99% of the blame. For the Steelers some blame would go to the coaching staff, more specifically Mike Tomlin and the offensive coordinator. The rest of the blame would go to Ben Roethlisberger, the quarterback.

When it comes to the Penguins, it's not all that much different. Head coach Dan Bylsma gets a good bit of blame when the Pens lose, especially if it's one of the nights where he makes a bizarre lineup choice. The rest of the blame however, would go to goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury.

Fleury is arguably the most unappreciated Pittsburgh athlete at the moment. Fleury is  always the main one blamed when the Pens lose and generally it seems a lot of people refuse to give him any credit. Despite being a Stanley Cup champion, repeat 40 game-winner, and an All-Star goaltender, Fleury never seems to get any respect. Hell, Rodney Dangerfield feels bad for Fleury.

The Pens recently made another good signing when Ray Shero signed goaltender Eric Hartzell. Hartzell has been outstanding for Quinnipiac University, taking them to the school’s first-ever Frozen Four appearance this year. Hartzell is 6-foot-4; 187 lbs went 30-7-5 this year with a 1.57 goals-against average and .933 save percentage in 42 starts. That's impressive but he has zero NHL experience.

I have no doubt that this Hartzell kid could be a good goalie in the NHL someday but he's never played in the NHL. Saying that Hartzell gives the Pens the option of not re-signing Fleury after the 2013-2014 season is silly. Right now he's just a good prospect. Fleury has a pedigree; Fleury was the number one overall pick.

Fleury was chosen to the 2010 Canadian Olympic hockey team that won the gold-medal. Right now, the only other active goaltender that has won a Stanley Cup, 40 games in a season, and been to an All-Star game is Brodeur.

So why on earth am I seeing tweets saying that Fleury sucks? Fleury has his faults there's no doubt about that. His career numbers aren't great and he's been known to let in soft goals, but he's still a franchise caliber net-minder. 

Yet after every loss and every goal allowed, you will see tons of comments on social media like "Fleury sucks" and "Put in the backup". Sometimes you'll even get "I hate that French f*ck".

Even this year when the Pens signed veteran Tomas Vokoun, people were clamoring for Tomas Vokoun to take Fleury's job from him this year. Vokoun is a good goalie he and Fleury play for the same time. Fleury's numbers are night and day better than Vokoun's. Fleury is elite and a franchise goalie and I'm not sure why people think otherwise.

So why on earth would you want to run a goalie with his resume, who is under 30 years old, out-of-town? Sure, Fleury has his flaws, every goalie does. Fleury laid a huge egg in last year's playoff series loss to the Philadelphia Flyers. Actually, Fleury was awful against the Flyers, posting a .834 save percentage and 4.63 goals against average. As bad as Fleury was against the Flyers last year, was anyone besides Jordan Staal any good for the Pens in that series? Goalies have bad games, they let in bad goals, and they even have bad years.

The great thing about Fleury is he's been consistently good and seems to get better every year. Again, its just fans throwing Fleury under the bus, which is pretty much every goal he allows, and every loss that he has. I mean, Fleury also never seems to get any credit when he does well. It's as if when the Pens lose it's his entire fault no matter what. When the Pens win and Fleury does well, people say, "It's because he's on a good team." For every bad performance Fleury has had to cost the Pens a game or a series, I can name you more times where he was the main player giving the Pens a chance to win.

Take the year that the Pens lost to the Red Wings in the Stanley Cup finals in 2007-2008 for example. Fleury had a save percentage of .933 and a goals-against-average of 1.97. Fleury was tops in both of those categories that postseason. Those are Conn Smythe worthy numbers. But the Pens didn't win, and all people seem to remember is the bad goal where Fleury knocked the puck in with his ass.

Two years ago, the Pens were without Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin for the second half of the, and yet Fleury still won 36 games and led the Pens to the playoffs. No Malkin, no Crosby, and Fleury was the team MVP. Hell, if anyone had been able to score a goal in game seven against the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round the Pens would have advanced. The Pens lost that game by a score of 1-0.
Fleury was obviously the one at fault. <-------Sarcasm

Hey, I guess you have to blame someone when your favorite team loses and when it comes to the Pens is mainly Fleury that wins the blame game. That's fine, haters hate. Honestly, there's no other goalie I'd rather have than Fleury right now. Not Carey Price, Pekka Rinne, Cam Ward, Ryan Miller, Roberto Luongo who all either make the same or more in terms of salary as Fleury. Henrik Lundqvist is probably the only goalie that hasn't won a cup that I would say is better than Fleury.

Is there pressure on Fleury to play well in the postseason this year? Of course, but there's pressure on the entire franchise from management to the players. Fleury is probably right there with head coach Dan Bylsma in terms of most pressure to win and produce. I have faith in Fleury, considering that he's come through for the Penguins so many teams.

Perhaps instead of fans saying he sucks and talking about how they shouldn't re-sign him, they could act more like fans and show him some support. I for one already think they should extend his contract and I'm sure that will include a raise to at least $6.25 million per-year. If any goalie has earned that contract its Fleury.

Fleury's stats aren't Dominik Hasek worthy but at the same time he's not Ilya Bryzgalov either. His stats are good not great. But he wins and that should shut all of the haters up. You would think that in a city that is so obsessed with their sports teams wining, a goalie who all he does is win games (248 career wins), and has already won a Stanley Cup would get a break from the overboard criticism.

And even though the Pens have an amazing roster and score a ton of goals, the team still has its flaws. The Pens play a style of hockey that isn't exactly goaltender friendly. They play north-to-south hockey, trading scoring chances with their opponents. Fleury is often left out to dry facing odd man breaks. At the same time Fleury usually has good scoring support so you take the good with the bad.

In the end, all I know is Fleury is a top-five franchise goalie in his prime. It amazes me the amount of hate he face inside the Pens' fan-base. Right now Fleury's playing as good as anyone in the league. He's won a cup and he's taken the Pens to the Stanley Cup Finals in back-to-back years. The Pens would not have gotten there or won it in 2008-2009 without him. By the way, Fleury is now tied for the second most wins in the league lead. Yeah he must really suck

In Fleury I trust, because Marc-Andre Fleury est étonnant.

Haters hate.



  1. This Fleury loving article writer is an ass!

  2. Fleury was the number one overall pick.There are many types of games in this regard.Fleury was chosen to the 2010 Canadian Olympic hockey team that won the gold-medal.
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