Tuesday, April 29, 2014

No noose is good noose

With 4:47 left to go in Game 6 of the series between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Columbus Blue Jackets, I began to have serious flashbacks to another series from last year's playoffs (Leafs - Bruins). 

After the major faux pas that he committed in game 4 of the series, I wondered what kind of pressure Marc-Andre Fleury would have been facing had the Penguins gone on to lose game 6.

2007-08 Ultra #39
I read all sorts of interesting articles after the game 4 collapse, and many people believe that even if the Penguins do  have a solid playoff run, that Fleury's time in Pittsburgh should come to an end.

I don't see it like that, and here's why.  It doesn't seem like it, but Fleury's been in Pittsburgh for a decade.  I don't know how to put this any other way, but Fleury's results are a reflection of how the team has been built.  Remember Grant Fuhr in Edmonton?  Fleury in Pittsburgh is the same, only different. 

Has anyone out there thought of Pittsburgh as a team that could totally shut an opponent down during the Crosby era?   I didn't think so.  The numbers aren't great as far as save percentage and goals against average, but take a look at this little tidbit.

Every season that Fleury has played a minimum of 60 games, he's won at least 35 in each of those seasons. The man is a winner.  Patrick Roy?  5 35+ win seasons.  Ed Belfour?  He has 7.  The one guy that he probably will not catch is Martin Brodeur, who has 12 seasons of 35 or more wins. 

Fleury and Pittsburgh will forever be entwined.  Whether Penguins fans like it or not, I can't see the team giving up on him after his contract expires next year. 

Give it some time folks, you will probably see at least 1 more Cup, if not 2, by the time Fleury and Pittsburgh part ways.

At least the noose around his neck has loosened a bit.   We'll see if the Penguins can keep their intensity level high for the remainder of the playoffs.

thanks for reading, Robert

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