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02-02-2013, 03:05 AM
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TheSniper26's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Youngstown
Country: United States
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Originally Posted by Malkin4Top6Wingerz View Post
Goalies who get a lot of wins are generally considered good because, well, wins are good. It's one of the more obvious forms of circular logic in sports.

Like a lot of others, I believe MAF is a fairly average NHL starter. He'll go through hot and cold stretches like any other goalie, the difference being that when he goes through a period of excellent hockey, his supporters cite this as evidence that he is an upper echelon goalie who simply has consistency issues, yet consistency is what seperates average from good and good from great. Goalies should not be judged on the alleged quality of their peaks and valleys, rather the frequency that they occur. Any goalie can get hot or go on a slump. It doesn't mean that when they occur there has to be a narrative attached. Being a #1 pick doesn't mean that every hot streak is evidence of that goalie's immense talent, nor does every poor stretch have to be a result of his fragile psyche and personal insecurity issues. They are just convenient explanations we form to suit our own preconceptions.

As TheSniper26 noted previously, Fleury's status as a #1 pick superstar in the making has kind of put this halo around his head, which has now been cemented after winning the Cup in 09'. For these people Fleury will never be the problem, it will always be the team around him - never mind that Fleury has had the aid of the league's highest scoring team since the Penguins have been relevant again. It's a mindset that's difficult to understand. Goalies are there to bail your team out when they make mistakes and teams generate quality scoring chances, which will happen with great frequency with any team. If you're only counting on your goalie to make casual saves and absolve him of any responsibility otherwise then what is the point of investing that much money into a goalie? Much less one that can't be counted on to play well under difficult circumstances?

What I find interesting is that when Fleury has put together strong regular seasons, like in 2010-2011 and 2007-2008, he's statistically been outplayed by his backups. If this is, as many people claim, to be a result of a better defensive environment, why not invest into our defense and make that a priority instead of investing valuable cap space into a goalie who can only thrive under optimal conditions? It certainly begs the question, does it not? And let's not forget that in other seasons where Fleury has shared time with an established NHL goalie he hasn't done much of anything to distance himself performance wise. Hard to blame the team in front of him when both goalies are playing behind the same group of players with the same system in place.

If Fleury were to ever be replaced by a less established but similarly effective goalie I'm betting that he would be vilified by a good portion of the fanbase on account of being mediocre without the hype to justify their blind faith. Though with Vokoun, there's a large body of excellent work that should ease their minds if the reigns were handed to him. And to nobody's surprise, I would have made Vokoun the starter from day one. This isn't a slight on Fleury, TV is simply an all-world goaltender who has been criminally undervalued because he couldn't perform miracles with the Florida Panthers.
I agree with pretty much every single word of this.

I'd also like to stress that I don't think Fleury is a bad goalie at all. I think he's got a lot of talent but is held back by his fairly marginal improvement in his weakest areas(puck handling, rebound control, overplaying shots, etc). I'd put him firmly in the middle of the pack as a flawed, but capable starter. If he wasn't among the top 10 highest paid goalies, I'd likely give him a little more leeway. But if you're being paid like an elite goalie in today's cap world, you better play like one with some consistency.

There's this sentiment on here that if you don't have 100% faith in Fleury as the starter, you're simply bashing him. Not true at all in my case. I like the guy and would absolutely rather he just polish up his weak areas and become the starter we all want him to be. I mean we're all rooting for the same team here. But it hasn't really happened yet and the window where excuses can be made for him has closed in my opinion.

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