Mario Lemieux

Lemieux went to Pens locker room to lift Fleury’s spirits


Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury has been a scapegoat/just-plain-goat enough times that Wednesday’s collapse against the Columbus Blue Jackets might not even be his lowest moment. That said, even if it wasn’t unquestionably his rock bottom moment, it was still awful for him.

In fact, things were ugly enough that the Penguins’ living legend/partial owner/guy who received statue treatment Mario Lemieux felt the need to visit the team’s locker room to console the struggling netminder.

Without proper context in what was said to the 29-year-old goalie, it feels sort of like a netminder’s answer to a GM giving a coach a “vote of confidence.” Still, it’s a nice gesture from Lemieux.

Here are the two goals in which Fleury seemed to unravel:

As you may remember, Fleury struggled enough to find himself on the bench during the 2013 Stanley Cup playoffs, but Tomas Vokoun isn’t (currently?) available to try to save the day. In case you’re curious, here’s a quick comparison between the regular season numbers Fleury and his 26-year-old, little-known backup Jeff Zatkoff generated in 2013-14:

Fleury: 39-18-5 with 2.37 GAA and .915 save percentage in 64 games played
Zatkoff: 12-6-2 with 2.61 GAA and .912 save percentage in 20 GP

Zatkoff isn’t very experienced, so maybe Lemieux really was going out of his way of saying “Don’t read anything on the Internet, because you’re our guy.” But we can only speculate.

Let’s assume Lemieux was looking a little more dapper, like he was during the Penguins’ championship run quite a while ago:

source: AP
Credit: AP

Veteran enforcer Boulton re-signs with Islanders

skates against the New York Islanders at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on April 4, 2015 in Uniondale, New York. The Islanders shut out the Sabres 3-0.
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At the age of 39, it looks like Eric Boulton still has at least one more campaign in the NHL left in his career.

The New York Islanders announced that Boulton has agreed to a one-year deal for the 2015-16 campaign. The financial terms weren’t disclosed, but it’s a one-way deal, according to Elliotte Friedman.

This will be Boulton’s fourth season with the Islanders, but he’s only played in 48 games with the club. That’s partially due to a hand and lower-body problems, but he’s also been scratched when healthy. When he does play, Boulton serves as an enforcer.

He made headlines in that role during the preseason while he was participating in the Islanders’ training camp on a tryout basis. He attempted to fight Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson, who ended Lubomir Visnovsky’s 2014-15 season, and when Wilson refused Boulton claimed it was because he “was scared to death.”

Capitals coach Barry Trotz countered that by saying that he specifically told Wilson not to fight Boulton. Now that Boulton has signed with the Islanders though, perhaps they’ll get into a sparring match during the regular season.

Sabres return Guhle to junior

Brendan Guhle
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The Buffalo Sabres have returned defenseman Brendan Guhle to junior, where he’ll play for the WHL’s Prince Albert Raiders.

Guhle was the 51st overall pick in the 2015 draft. The 18-year-old had two assists in four preseason games before suffering an injury on a big hit by Toronto’s Dion Phaneuf.

Guhle said Sunday that he was fully recovered from the injury. Hence, the return to Prince Albert.

There are now just five 2015 draft picks left on NHL rosters: Connor McDavid, Jack Eichel, Noah HanifinMikko Rantanen, and Daniel Sprong.