What's next for Fleury? by @pghgirl15222 - PensInitiative | Pittsburgh Penguins Blog | Rumors | News

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Thursday, September 12, 2013

What's next for Fleury? by @pghgirl15222

Marc-Andre Fleury flops around as the puck glides through his legs slowly. The crowd holds their breath. He then lowers his head, stands up, and skates around looking skyward.  Sadly, this has become the norm for Pens fans. Fleury’s mental game is his biggest flaw and it destroys all of the confidence instilled in the 28 year old goaltender. For a team with very few weaknesses, his issues are as unavoidable as Sidney Crosby’s talent.

Pens fans are sadly aware that there are two Marc-Andre Fleury’s. There is the regular season Fleury, who averaged a .916 save percentage in 33 games played and then there is the post-season Fleury, who averaged a .883 save percentage in 5 games played. The year before tells the exact same story. In 67 regular season games Fleury posted a .913 save percentage. The playoffs? In 6 games a .834 save percentage. The difference is staggering, so much so that after a mess of a playoffs MAF finally agreed to see a sports psychologist. 

This is not the first time the Penguins have embraced a more mental approach with their players. Matt Cooke chose to see a sports psychologist in order to keep a spot on the team after questionable play led to some serious suspensions. I find that few people would disagree that Fleury does not have as many physical issues as there are mental.

All of this seemed to start after his Stanley Cup win and Fleury has finally seen enough. With no invitation to the Olympics training camp and questions about if Vokoun is a better goalie for now, Fleury needs to start figuring out why his mental game has faded over the past four years. It might soon be costing him his roster spot if he does not figure it out past this year. 

Fleury needs to start performing like the $5 million a year starting goalie he is, stepping up in big time situations instead of riding on the coat tails of someone else saving him. Last year, it was Vokoun who was the white knight riding in to save Fleury.

This year, it has to be Fleury saving Fleury. I would never deny Fleury’s talent, he is an athletic goalie and fits in well on the Pens but enough is enough. He has a sports psychologist, a new goalie coach, and hopefully a new mental approach. 

I feel that Marc-Andre Fleury is not only capable of getting back into the mentality that earned him a Stanley Cup but he will do it this season. My hope is that Tomas Vokoun’s playoff showing is the fire that needed lit under the young netminder and the readiness to see a professional over this issue is proof that he is aware of the severity.

There is little question that in the 2013-14 season Marc-Andre Fleury will be playing for his job. I have full faith though that he will regain the confidence he needs and take his place as one of the NHL’s elite again.

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