The Mind of Marc-Andre by @LCJS

3/31/16: Marc-Andre Fleury's mask comes off trying to make a save on James Neal. A previous Neal shot had caused the mask to break and possibly cause Fleury's concussion. (Photo: Post-Gazette)
James Neal has played a role in the Pens postseason THIS season, and while it hasn't been devastating for the team, it has been devastating for the Pens top netminder. Marc-Andre Fleury has been out for 26 days (at press time) and while he has practiced there is no hint of a return to the lineup.

It's sad, as Fleury is well-regarded by teammates and fan. He even stars in the recent television commercial for UPMC, introducing the wider world to his wife and daughter.

Then James Neal happened.

*cues up Shattered by the Rolling Stones*
"Ain't you hungry for success, success, success, success? Does it matter? (Shattered)
Does it matter?"
Sha-doobie, Rob Rossi - who caught so much flak for daring to ask if Fleury should possibly be thinking about his family at a time when, um, anyone else would be. Hindsight has showed us all there was no reason to rush MAF back.

Marc-Andre the Giant

Fleury is currently working through his second concussion of the year. I say "working through" because there is no other way to describe the process of dealing with a concussion. This is especially true for a player at a position that relies on his senses for so much of his success.

While Fleury still knows how to make saves and fundamentally where to set up, he's more than likely lacking the 6th sense, the gut instinct that tells him, "I need to stay low so that I can cross quickly in case there is a pass, because I can see that OTHER guy out of my periphery and I can SENSE that the shooter is actually going to pass."

A forward playing through a concussion may shoot wide more often, or perhaps mistime a pass causing a turnover.  A goalie, however, would be playing Russian Roulette - as each little mistake potentially leads to the goal horn blaring... and he certainly doesn't need that ringing in his head.

Current Status: Practicing


Fleury is still dipping his toe in the water, seemingly not ready to swim. So long as his senses remain murky, he would be very detrimental in the starting line up.

Matt Murray, who has dealt with his own concussion, has been stellar in replacement. There is no need to reason to push Fleury or rush him back.

All that's left for the fan to do is wish MAF well and hope that everything turns out OK for a young man with his future still in front of him.
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