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Marc-Andre Fleury: Why the Penguins Should Bench Him
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02-08-2013, 02:44 PM
Join Date: Jan 2013
Here's the thing with Fleury, he's a very likebale guy that's easy to root for, even if you don't like him. The back-to-back Finals, the Stanley Cup, THE last second Stanley Cup winning save, and his overrall acrobatic style that leads to many highlight reel saves has bought him lots of rope amongst Pens fans.
Having said all that, he is a player that still displays the same weaknesses from year one to now. Last year against Philly was an unmitigated disaster of epic proportions. While it's not ALL on him obviously, I honestly think it was the perfect opportunity for him to be THE stabilizing influence for the team (like he did when Sid and Geno missed regular season games to injury), and get us through a very win-able series. But he fell apart in grand fashion and that was that.
After the Stanley Cup, I felt he was ready to breakthrough and become that consistent top-end goalie, but again, for all the awesome physical tools he has, he's got to be one of the most mentally weak athletes I have ever seen. It's not even just about the stats. It's that he just as likely to make a big save when you need it, as he is to give up a weak goal at a bad time. The reason he bears the brunt of sooo much criticism is beacuse he's paid like a top-tier goalie, and more often than not, he fails to earn his pay consistently. At 2-3 million you can accept these flaws, but in a cap world where we have more than a handful of guys earning BIG pay, the Fleury contract at 5 is a bit of an albatross. With Geno and Letang coming up soon, I think this year and next will go a long ways towards detemining whether Shero wants to re-sign Fleury to the same deal, a little less, or just cuts ties and maybe uses the Detroit approach with respect to contracts and what they're willing to spend on a starting goalie.
I think bringing in Vokoun as many have said was a great and very underrated move. He provides the team with a solid plan B if Fleury craps the bed, but hopefully, and more importantly, pushes Fleury to be better and give us the goaltending we need to compete for the big prize come playoff time. For me, at this point in time, if Fleury plays great and steals a game, or if he's awful and costs us a game, I've accepted that that's just the way it is. Just my two cents.
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