"Penguins officials have no shortage of things over which they can agonize. Like how to inject respectability into their record, and where the franchise might be based in 18 months.
But what some people outside the organization [and inside the damn TV broadcast booth]
regard as goalie Marc-Andre Fleury's penchant for giving up untimely goals isn't one of them, according to coach Michel Therrien.
Fleury's reputation for performing poorly in high-pressure situations dates to the third period of the title game at the world junior championships a little more than two years ago, when a botched clearing attempt contributed to a late comeback by the United States.
And while his highly regarded Cape Breton club subsequently fizzled in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League playoffs, Fleury actually has been involved in very few high-stakes games since. Nonetheless, every time he allows a meaningful goal, be it in regular play or a shootout, someone questions his ability to perform under pressure.
What usually goes unmentioned is that Fleury is a No. 1 goalie in the NHL at an age when even the most-gifted prospects still are learning the position. And that saves he made earlier in those games often are the reason they're close when it's late.
"He's young," Therrien said. "He just turned 21 three months ago. Yes, we want him to make the key save at the right time, and he's doing that most of the time. There are going to be games when he's not able to make it, but that's part of developing young kids. If you don't put him out there, he's not going to get that experience."
The guy is 21 friggin' years old. Is there another 21-year-old goalie in the league right now? I sure can't think of any. And who was the last guy that excelled at 21? Luongo comes to mind. DiPietro? Nope, he spent most of that year in the minors, putting up stats that weren't as good as Fleury's. Patrick Roy? His save percentage at 21 is worse than Fleury's this year, and for a far better team. So where all this crap comes from, I have no idea. Yes, he fails to make every save. What goalie doesn't? But give the kid some time here. if he giving up untimely goals at 25, then I will be concerned. Until then, just shut up![/b]