NHL goalies must cope with failure in just about every game, but even the steeliest netminder would probably be a little flustered by the lows of Marc-Andre Fleury’s last season.
The position can feel like a lonely one, so it makes sense that the Pittsburgh Penguins have reportedly been asking the 28-year-old to see a sports psychologist. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports that Fleury agreed to do so this summer.
Sports Illustrated passes along Fleury’s comments, which came in a French interview with RDS’ Antonin Besner on Thursday.
“It’s another tool,” Fleury said. “It’s something that can help you perform, so why not give it a try? I think it was an opportune time to meet with him.”
Penguins GM Ray Shero provided a simple explanation to the Tribune-Review.
“Goalie is a delicate position, no different than a golfer or a tennis player: You’re on your own a lot,” Shero said. “I think it’s a good step for him, which he’s really taken seriously since our year-end meeting. It’s kind of like the situation with Matt Cooke in that you can’t just hope you’re going to come back and things are going to be different.
“A lot of guys talk to somebody. It’s a confidence thing.”
(H/T to The Score.)
Related: Penguins hope Fleury uses Olympic snub as motivation
When Team Canada announced its list of players invited to their orientation camp, five goaltenders were included and none of them were Penguins netminder Marc-Andre Fleury.
It looks like after years of struggling in the playoffs, his country has serious concerns about how he might perform internationally.
“The Olympic thing, I’m not going to make too much of,” Penguins GM Ray Shero told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “But if he takes something personal, good for him.”
Being excluded from orientation camp doesn’t necessarily mean that Fleury won’t make the team, but he’ll have a particularly tough time. After all, if his performance in the playoffs is truly the problem, then that might be an unsolvable issue because he won’t get another shot at postseason redemption until after the Olympics.
Fleury might get off to a strong start in 2013-14, but his regular season performance has been adequate to great over the last few years anyways.
“The playoffs are the question mark he’s had the past four years,” Shero said. “I think it’s probably something on his mind.”
Perhaps Fleury will take the snub personally and that will be the motivation he needs going forward, even if it might be too late at this point for him to earn an Olympic spot.
Now that Jonathan Bernier is off the market, one of the teams that was in hot pursuit of him could turn their attention to another French-Canadian stopper.
Michael Russo of The Star Tribune reports the Minnesota Wild have inquired with the Pittsburgh Penguins about their maligned goalie Marc-Andre Fleury. The Wild were one of three teams believed to be in the final race for Bernier, but now that he’s off to Toronto the Wild and GM Chuck Fletcher have to look elsewhere.
Minnesota could just re-sign their own unrestricted free agent in Niklas Backstrom and stop their search, but their pursuit of Bernier indicates they’re headed in a different direction in goal. With the money the team has invested in Ryan Suter and Zach Parise, skimping on goaltending would seem like a bad idea.
On Friday, it was revealed that the Scotiabank Saddledome (aka the home of the Calgary Flames) suffered serious damage from the massive flooding in the area.
Those photos shared the impact directly outside the arena, but Theo Fleury Tweeted a grainy-yet-stunning photo of what it looks like on the inside on Saturday:
The Calgary Sun’s Eric Francis reports that the locker room, equipment and possibly the Jumbotron were damaged in the process.
Canada.com has a few more photos of the arena taking on water.
Here’s some flooding footage in video form from the Associated Press by way of USA Today:
Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury collapsed in the playoffs for the second straight year and this time he was ultimately replaced by Tomas Vokoun.
Still, Penguins GM Ray Shero hasn’t given up on him.
“I’m not getting rid of Marc-Andre Fleury,” said Shero, “provided he wants to be part of it here and come back.”
So does he want to come back? His agent, Allan Walsh, answered that question in no uncertain terms.
“Marc-Andre Fleury is a Pittsburgh Penguin, he loves the club, the city, his teammates and the fans,” Walsh tweeted. “He does not want to be anywhere else.”
Tomas Vokoun is also under the Penguins’ control, but he’ll probably fall back into the role of Fleury’s understudy.
“Fleury is our No. 1 goalie and will be moving forward,” Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma said. “He is a guy who will come back to this team.”
That effectively closes the book on this debate. At least for now.