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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Why Blaming Fleury is the Wrong Easy Answer by @PandaPSU

(Photo courtesy of the sportingnews.com)
For 59 minutes and 38 seconds, Marc-Andre Fleury was playing one of the best playoff games of his career. After misplaying the puck on an ill-advised play behind the net, his entire fortune changed. He proceeded to let in a gimme shot by Nick Foligno and just like that the series was tied 2-2. For fans, it is a tough pill to swallow because the Pens were 22 seconds away from having a strangle hold on the series. The easy thing to do is to blame Fleury and call for Zatkoff, Vokoun, Hartzell, anyone but 29. As horrendous as those two goals were, if the Pens had won last night, it would have simply further masked the deeper issues with this team.

Time to go to some numbers to see how bad it has been for the Penguins:


Take a look at the above photo and see the Pens leading goal scorers this postseason. Good for Niskanen, Gibbons, Jokinen, and Sutter. I am happy for them, really. Now proceed the whole way down the page to find Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Kris Letang. All have been shut out this series. To beat a dead horse, that is eight playoff games in a row Letang and Malkin have not scored, and nine playoff games Sidney Crosby has not scored.


Here is the same chart organized by +/-. Again, good for players like Paul Martin and Brooks Orpik... I am still really happy for them. Now, make your way the whole way down the chart to find Sidney Crosby, Kris Letang, and Chris Kunitz. I don't know how to make this more simple than I already have... the Pens may be tied 2-2 in this series, but they have been a COLOSSAL failure to this point. The 'team leaders' have managed to be less productive than the fans sitting outside of CONSOL watching on the big screen. Short of one goal from Chris Kunitz last night, it has been a waste of almost $25 million so far in this series. Throw James Neal in there, who has been largely absent as well, and we are at $30 million. Ray Shero has paid $30 million for 2 goals, 9 assists, and a -11 rating... let that sink in.

Now that I have swayed you that it isn't Marc-Andre Fleury's fault for the entire series. Let's turn our focus to last night.


I would like you to focus on the CF% column. As you probably know, that is the Corsi for % for the game last night as a whole. Once again, Corsi is a great way to measure time of possession, especially offensively, that leads to scoring chances, which leads to goals. The Columbus Blue Jackets Corsi as a team was 61.8%! They almost out-possessed the Penguins 2-to-1 over the course of the entire game. That is almost unheard of, especially in the playoffs. Continue over to the SF and SA columns, and you will see the Penguins surrendered 46 shots on goal. Did you know the Penguins have surrendered their two highest shot totals of the season during this series with 45 and 46 shots? Of course, not surprisingly, those were both losses. Maybe also not so surprisingly that both of the games went to overtime, which was largely due to Marc-Andre Fleury.

(Pens Initiative article here)


To be frank with everyone, this team has played with so little heart that it makes me want to not watch them finish this series. To be clear, if you know me at all, I am one of the biggest Penguins fans there is, and I am seriously thinking about a personal blackout for Saturday. Is it because we lost 2 games to an inferior opponent? No. Is it because we have been over-matched for much of the series? No. It is because this team is almost unrecognizable to me, and I am having a hard time watching this team, my team, play with so little heart. So, blame Marc-Andre Fleury if you want to because it is easy, but he is one of three or four players who decided to show up and play this series. You all can blame him if you want to, but you all would be wrong.





14 comments:

  1. Totally agree. Although Malkin is not 100% physically. And this may seem like an opinion out of left field (and terribly unpopular) but.... Maybe Crosby is really really tired of being the "Face" of the NHL? Maybe he just wants to earn a living and go home with his head attached like the rest of us? He has had a target painted on his head for 9 years. Although his paycheck should follow suit. GO PENS!

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    1. There are a lot of theories, Jim. One of them being Sid is actually hurt. Another being he is tired because it is the first full season in almost 5 years. I guess I am tired of hearing it, and I have no defense for either of them this series.

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  2. Fleury fucking sucks. It's the same story over and over again. Jesus Christ. Fucking braindead Penz fans

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  3. As painful as it may be, you know you'll watch on Saturday. We can't help it. But you're 100% correct about not WANTING to watch. Sometimes average teams gear up in the playoffs. But rarely do superior teams fall apart in the playoffs... continually. Very odd.

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  4. If #29 had stayed in the crease, the Pens win. Simple. The CBFs hadn't done squat for 15:00 minutes of the third period. Not even close to threatening a score. Stay in the friggin goal for crissakes! Game over then fix the other stuff. Crosby and Malkin are wearing defensemen like shirts. Sign Pen defensemen that knock the poop out of any player that drapes them. We don't have that now-too soft.

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  5. Apparently the 2 blaming Fleury in the comments didnt read the article!? Can u read or are u morons!? The team is being outplayed, outhit, outshot, outmanned, and outwilled. So tired of hearing Fleury taking blame. If this team had a solid defensive mindset, he would get even more wins! We had a 3-0 lead! Offense found a shell and hid. Defense got lazy. We let them hang around.

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  6. Apparently the 2 blaming Fleury in the comments didnt read the article!? Can u read or are u morons!? The team is being outplayed, outhit, outshot, outmanned, and outwilled. So tired of hearing Fleury taking blame. If this team had a solid defensive mindset, he would get even more wins! We had a 3-0 lead! Offense found a shell and hid. Defense got lazy. We let them hang around.

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  7. I read the dumbass article. It do not matter. Fleury is horrible. He blue it last night. All his fault.

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    1. Big dick dudley you go out there and put on that equipment and sit through 46 shots and face unlucky bounces and if you stop 43 of then I will say you are right about fleury. Defense was to relaxed and let them back in the game. If they would have done there job outcomes l could be different

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  8. Big Dick Dudley has spoken haha

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  9. Flowers been great open your eyes. One unlucky bounce isn't his fault. We can't blame. Flower for it. Maybe we should have tried to end the game in the 2nd with another goal or two before we decided to take it easy the rest of the game and get it handed to us

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  10. Nice article. Well thought out and articulate. You'll never change Fleury Haters. I've never seen a more talented team have no passion to win.

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    1. You're right. You can't change Fleury haters. I'd love for Fleury to have a shutout next game. But, the team in front of him is unreliable. Any goalie would struggle. The Kings had the best defense statistically all season long. Quick is considered a Top 5 goalie. Look at them both vs Sharks. Terrible. The Sharks forward depth is good. But, the Kings & Quick are better than they've shown.

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  11. I love Flower! I think he is super talented and an asset. I don't blame him for the playoff losses, but I will say... stay in the damn goal Fleury! That kid ventures out of the goal way too much. He gives up goals trying to settle the puck for his defenders WAY outside the crease for no reason. That instinct of his is a liability. I don't know why the Pen's staff hasn't kick this issue in the ass, and make him stay in the blue.

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