The Battle of Marc-Andre Fleury by @pghgirl15222 - PensInitiative | Pittsburgh Penguins Blog | Rumors | News

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Thursday, November 6, 2014

The Battle of Marc-Andre Fleury by @pghgirl15222

The line between how emotionally involved we are with our athletes is blurred in the city of Pittsburgh. We grow up on the games that we widely consider more of a religion than a past time. Some of these players are historically adored but in other cases these men cause such a stir between fans that a sort of "war" begins to emerge in a once happy place.

Marc-Andre Fleury is one of those athletes that evokes such strong emotion.

As we all are fully aware by now, Fleury signed a four-year contract extension worth about $23 million yesterday.

He has a history of choking in the playoffs. So much so that last year a sports psychologist was hired to help him work on his mental edge. A lot of Pittsburgh fans wanted the team to wait and see who would be available over the summer.

Jim Rutherford obviously did not agree with that idea. As per Josh Yohe, Fleury is the tenth highest paid goaltender in the league. The Penguins also feel he has been a better goaltender after a terrible 2012-2013 post-season showing. All true. In my mind this deal was fair. He is getting paid average money.

And who would we go after? Do we have time to develop a goaltender and still get Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin in their primes? Likely not. Rutherford was in a tough situation and he decided to act before he might be forced to pay more in the off-season.

The thing is, sometimes there are more important things than what is written down on a piece of paper. Sometimes the thing that matters the most is the fact that the Pittsburgh goaltender is adored by his teammates.

When you walk into the locker room you will more than likely find Fleury joking with someone or playing a prank. He is loved by those men. And occasionally that means just as much as any statistic ever written. It's not everything and I don't mean to imply that it is. However, it DOES matter somewhat.

I do not expect his critics to change their minds nor do I think they should have to. We simply need to remember that sometimes players are signed for what they offer in AND OUT of the sport they play. If we remember that maybe both sides can win this war? Or at least we can all try to fight fair in the meantime.

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