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What they’re saying about Fleury’s collapse

Apr 23, 2014, 10:39 PM EDT

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Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury was solid for most of Wednesday’s 4-3 overtime loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets, but he looked pretty bad on the game-tying and overtime goals.

It might just be shrugged off as a bad performance if it was an isolated incident, but Fleury now has a 3.18 GAA and .903 save percentage in the 2014 playoffs after a solid regular season.

That follows an all-too familiar script that sees Fleury excel in the regular season and then take a step back when it matters the most. An argument can be made that he’s struggled in every playoff run since the Penguins won the Stanley Cup in 2009.

With that in mind, it’s perhaps not surprising that the reaction to Fleury’s performance on Wednesday was heavily critical despite the great saves he made earlier in the game. Here’s a sampling of the reaction on Twitter from a number of notable hockey writers and commentators:

  1. President Charles Logan - Apr 23, 2014 at 10:46 PM

    What the heck has happened to this guy since the Cup he won a few years back?

    • barkar942 - Apr 23, 2014 at 11:01 PM

      Actually, if you must know….. After he won the Cup in 2009, Marc Andre Fleury was traveling alone on a dark road in northern Canada, a bright object suddenly appeared in the sky. Soon, the object hovered over him. The unidentified object was in search of fuel. Suddenly, Fleury was in a complete trance. The object then beamed him up, placed him on an operating table and removed from him all they needed to refuel- his testicles. They then quietly placed him back in his car and reflashed his memory so he would remember nothing of the incident, nor would he even notice that his testicles were no longer there.
      Ever since then, he just hasn’t had the kahunas to play like he did in the 2009 post season.

    • mebailey700 - Apr 23, 2014 at 11:04 PM

      As a flyers fan I have to admit that I love the collapse but at the same time you have to feel for the guy.

      • mangoman1966 - Apr 23, 2014 at 11:12 PM

        I think you should be more worried about the rangers.

      • mebailey700 - Apr 23, 2014 at 11:28 PM

        Ha I hear you man but the next game isn’t until friday so it’s not worth fretting over until then. Besides with Mason back in net I think we can win game 4 and tie the series back up, depending on whether Giroux decides to show up…

      • pleasefiredan - Apr 24, 2014 at 5:28 PM

        He shouldn’t be seeing almost 50 shots with this “all-star” team defense is a joke besides Martin. Crosby and Malkin haven’t done anything. Malkin had 0 shots! People like like to blame fleury. But he stood on his head for 56 minutes. Got no help after the first period. This stick on puck and not body on body defense is hard to watch game after game.

    • mangoman1966 - Apr 23, 2014 at 11:10 PM

      He started thinking too much. Didn’t let the game come to him. Wish I knew.

    • chanceoffleury - Apr 23, 2014 at 11:15 PM

      Dan Bylsma being in charge of the roster’s structure, most notably. He won with Therrien’s team, not his own.

    • imgoingtowichita - Apr 23, 2014 at 11:18 PM

      This was MAF in ’09.

    • hockeyflow33 - Apr 24, 2014 at 12:04 AM

      The team in front of him decided playing defense wasn’t very important.

      • hockey412 - Apr 24, 2014 at 8:18 AM

        I agree, but not on the OT goal. That was classic meltdown. The thing is, the game-tying goal was a bad decision by Fleury to play the puck with two D-men already there and the offense crashing, but it was still a fluke…puck jumped right over his stick. (fluke meaning it wasn’t him being a bad goalie, just a horrible decision). But the OT goal was stoppable, to say the least. Not sure what happened, I don’t think he does either.

      • hockeyflow33 - Apr 24, 2014 at 5:26 PM

        In defense of Fleury, and as a goalie, the shot was a knuckling slider that tipped off the defenseman’s stick. Not the easiest save to make but because it plays along the storyline that it’s all Fleury’s fault so the media will ignore that.

        I’m not a Penguins fan either.

      • hockey412 - Apr 25, 2014 at 8:16 AM

        Good thing are D-men are always strategically placed far enough away to give the puck carrier a good shot and make Fleury play their tip.

    • oldfatbaldguy - Apr 25, 2014 at 3:19 PM

      He had three pretty bad games in the 2009 Finals. Pittsburgh won the other four.

  2. canucks30 - Apr 23, 2014 at 10:53 PM

    The Penguins need to pickup a goaltender in the off-season.

    I hear Bryzgalov may be available.

    • flyerspsu - Apr 23, 2014 at 11:02 PM

      that will not solve the inconsistency and prone to giving up terrible goals problem

      • canucks30 - Apr 23, 2014 at 11:09 PM

        You seemed to have missed the sarcasm

      • mangoman1966 - Apr 23, 2014 at 11:15 PM

        As a pens fan its almost like your waiting for this kind of stuff to happen.

      • flyerspsu - Apr 23, 2014 at 11:24 PM

        gotcha, reading your comment again I should have caught that

    • penguins87and71 - Apr 23, 2014 at 11:03 PM

      I would still take Fleury over the crappy goaltenders the Canucks organization has, where are the Canucks anyway? Haven’t seen them play in the Playoffs this year.

    • flyerspsu - Apr 23, 2014 at 11:03 PM

      they definitely need to get a new goalie, i just dont think Bryz is the answer

  3. maalea - Apr 23, 2014 at 10:54 PM

    The best tweet I saw was this:

    Only in Pittsburgh will you find a flower that blooms in the fall and dies in the spring

    • toiletclown - Apr 24, 2014 at 7:36 AM

      That’s actually halarius

  4. ravenscaps48 - Apr 23, 2014 at 10:56 PM

    MAF is the Tony Rome of the NHL

    • maalea - Apr 23, 2014 at 11:01 PM

      MAF looks like Sinatra?

      http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0062380/

    • canucks30 - Apr 23, 2014 at 11:10 PM

    • sabatimus - Apr 23, 2014 at 11:20 PM

      Said before, only you spelled it wrong.

    • ravenscaps48 - Apr 23, 2014 at 11:32 PM

      My bad… I need to turn Auto correct off. Carry on, fellow penguin haters

    • hockeyflow33 - Apr 24, 2014 at 12:06 AM

      Except Fleury has won a Cup and made a diving last second save to hold onto the win.

      • stcrowe - Apr 24, 2014 at 12:12 AM

        Yes, that would make him more like Peyton Manning.

      • maalea - Apr 24, 2014 at 9:21 AM

        No. Crosby is the Peyton Manning of the NHL.

      • hockeyflow33 - Apr 24, 2014 at 5:29 PM

        Seriously? Can we stop with the blind Crosby hate? Acting like he’s a bad player or ignoring his Gold Medal winning OT goal didn’t happen just makes you look bad.

  5. canucks30 - Apr 23, 2014 at 10:57 PM

    @PCL

    Goalies are like pitchers in baseball.

    Sometimes they just “lose it” overnight for no particular reason. He’s not any worse of an athlete – it’s his mental make up.

    For example, Roberto Luongo was never the same after Patrick Kane’s hat trick. His playoff stats before and after that game are night and day.

    • jonnyhammersticks - Apr 24, 2014 at 12:13 AM

      Didn’t Luongo lead them to the finals the year after that?

      • canucks30 - Apr 24, 2014 at 12:55 AM

        2 years after. But he became inconsistent – dominant one night and then atrocious the next whereas from 2007-2009 he was consistently solid every game and didn’t get rattled so easily, especially in road playoff games.

      • jonnyhammersticks - Apr 24, 2014 at 1:44 AM

        Fair enough

  6. iowa02 - Apr 23, 2014 at 10:57 PM

    While Fleury should get some criticism, this needs to spread all around. I believe that the Pens really thought that this would be a easy series. If they watched just one of Columbus’ games they know that this team will be on you until the very end and you never let up on them. If they go out in the first round again, I think some people need to get their resume together.

    • mrpinkca - Apr 23, 2014 at 11:00 PM

      I agree, I was only half watching the game, but it feels like Pittsburgh has once again gotten a little too loose defensively, and Fluery’s numbers have suffered as a result of that. That said, what on earth was he doing trying to play the puck in that situation?

      • iowa02 - Apr 23, 2014 at 11:16 PM

        Well, most of their payroll is offense heavy and they are getting nothing in return when it really matters. The cracks are showing and it took a inner state, Stanley Cup final and 13 year old team to show it. This is no longer 2009 and they need to stop putting a team to showcase Crosby and put together a team. Period.

      • drewzducks - Apr 23, 2014 at 11:21 PM

        Pitt had a stretch of just over 10 mins. In the 3rd when they held CBJ without a single shot. Then came the collapse. I’d be more concerned about the OT goal, a pretty standard wrist shot from just inside the blue line than the flukey goal in the final seconds.

      • Kristenaux - Apr 24, 2014 at 10:39 AM

        I don’t agree…as a Pens fan and a hockey watcher. Fleury has always done this! They’ve got him goalie coaches, they’ve got him mentors, they’ve got him talking with a psychologist now. None of it’s working and it’s not all the fault of the defense. While there have been some breakdowns the as well as giveaways in the neutral zone, it all comes back to one thing and one thing only – Fleury needs to be tethered to the damn net and NOT go wandering off after a puck he can not,/b. handle and then find himself stranded in no mans land. It seems no amount of coaching is going to break him of this and as a long time supporter of his good play, I simply CANNOT make excuses for him doing this!
        The organization has to stop thinking about hurting his feelings and deal with this issue!

    • mangoman1966 - Apr 23, 2014 at 11:23 PM

      Starting with the head coach. Hey sometimes change is good. This team. Wasn’t built to challenge for the cup. Too many injuries too much lackadaisacal play.doesn’t have the grit that the 2 cup finalist and cup winner had. We have no Gary Roberts and Billy guerrn types..

  7. stakex - Apr 23, 2014 at 10:59 PM

    Two things:

    1. Haggerty brings up an interesting topic… what will become of Dan Bylsma should the Pens lose this series? Given the Pens playoff performances over the last few years one would have to think there will be serious talk about his future with the team if they don’t pull this one out.

    2. People like Jack Michaels that use a goalies win/lose record to determine performance are idiots. Fleury is the most over rated goalie in the NHL year after year because he wins a lot of games…. but he wins a lot of those games because the Pens score a ton of goals. His personal numbers, which actually tell you how well he plays, have never been anything but average. If he played for a less offensively dominant team he would win a lot less games, and likely struggle to keep a starting job. Playoff Fleury is actually the real Fleury, its just that games in the playoffs are tighter and people are paying more attention.

    • bullwinkle88 - Apr 24, 2014 at 2:52 AM

      I answered this question in another thread. If they lose the series, both Bylsma and Fleury will be gone. IMO Bylsma deserves it more than Fleury…look at the mess he made with the US team in the Olympics.

  8. bigbadbruins77 - Apr 23, 2014 at 11:02 PM

    I feel bad for him. It’s not all his fault, but the nerves crush him. He looked so nervous before game 1 that he had his jersey pulled up over his face.

  9. billiam55 - Apr 23, 2014 at 11:09 PM

    The Curious Case of Playoff Marc-Andre Fleury.

    In theaters June.

    • thesportsjudge - Apr 23, 2014 at 11:49 PM

      At least he will have time to be at the premiere.

  10. skr213 - Apr 23, 2014 at 11:15 PM

    His team was outshot 46-25. 46-25!!! And people just want to talk about the goalie???? Just silly. Start with the coach, not the goalie if you’re getting outshot like that.

    • sabatimus - Apr 23, 2014 at 11:22 PM

      True. Lots of penalties taken by the Pens tonight.

      • mangoman1966 - Apr 23, 2014 at 11:29 PM

        I thought fleury was the best pen on the ice. If not for a weird bounce we wouldn’t be talking about fleury. Where are the high powered snipers. I’m starting to think that malkins career has peaked.

      • toiletclown - Apr 24, 2014 at 8:53 AM

        Weird bounce and a HORRIBLE OT goal from the blue line.

    • stakex - Apr 23, 2014 at 11:25 PM

      There will be talk about the coach if they lose this series… however they lost this game as a direct result of Fleury.

      The reason they were out shot so badly is because Columbus was down 3-0 early, and had to press the offense the entire game to try and get back into it. The Pens were also 22 seconds away from winning the game until Fleury’s gaff gift wrapped the tying goal. If he stays in the net, the game is over and the series is 3-1. He then gave up one of the softest playoff OT goals you will ever see…. so yes, all everyone is going to talk about is the goalie.

      • hockeyflow33 - Apr 24, 2014 at 12:08 AM

        Last I checked, hockey is a team game and there are five guys playing in front of Fleury that played poorly throughout the game.

      • hockey412 - Apr 24, 2014 at 8:22 AM

        No, (I agree the tying goal was a gaff and that the OT goal was ridiculous), but I also agree that the team quit playing. The shot differential tells A story, but if you watched the game you saw a Pens team content to chase the puck half-speed, like they have since the Olympic break, playing against a Columbus team who simply wanted the puck and were playing the game at full-speed. It’s horrible hockey.

    • no - Apr 24, 2014 at 1:59 AM

      what did the jackets have last game? 3 goals on 19 shots?

  11. broadstreetbeatdown - Apr 23, 2014 at 11:41 PM

    They should change his nickname from Flower to Mr. Softee.

    • toiletclown - Apr 24, 2014 at 8:37 AM

      You aint kidding

  12. cityofthechamps - Apr 23, 2014 at 11:51 PM

    Pens need to fire Bylsma and hire Peter Laviolette. Thoughts?

    • President Charles Logan - Apr 24, 2014 at 1:27 AM

      nashville is where laviolette is headed i bet.

    • hockey412 - Apr 24, 2014 at 8:23 AM

      Trotz.

      • toiletclown - Apr 24, 2014 at 8:35 AM

        They need a coach not a buddy. It’s the get-along-gang. Wonder who the next mustache boy is going to be.

    • kastout11 - Apr 24, 2014 at 8:24 AM

      Flyers fan here, Lavi might be the most sought after coach this offseason, but he will jump at the Penguins job if available. Although, based on his history with Pittsburgh while he was in Philly, maybe not. He is a hard-nosed coach though, and might be exactly what the Pens need. His system kills goalies though.

      • toiletclown - Apr 24, 2014 at 8:37 AM

        I think the Pens need a hard-nosed coach right about now.

  13. 19inarow - Apr 24, 2014 at 12:52 AM

    This is the same script as last year, against the Isles. Islanders took games 2 and 4, just like these Blue Jackets. However, last year, the Pens were able to turn to Voukoun, who came in a played very well. Not this time.

    The Blue Jackets can win this.

  14. 19inarow - Apr 24, 2014 at 12:53 AM

    Fleury: forever putting the “I” in Pens.

    • hockey412 - Apr 24, 2014 at 8:24 AM

      what does that even mean/correlate?

  15. Hard to BeLeaf - Apr 24, 2014 at 1:42 AM

    Series is 2-2 and both teams have been blowing 3-1 leads. Why’s it all on Fleury? What about Bob?

    • chanceoffleury - Apr 24, 2014 at 11:58 AM

      Because people hate the Pens and are indifferent towards the jackets. Anaheim and St. Louis blew their series leads, Crawford let in last second goal for the blues to come back and win it in OT. LA has been a mess. Similar to last year, people are having meltdowns and the Pens are yet to even trail the series. The situation isn’t ideal, but nobody ever got to a cup final without a little adversity. The Pens can turn it around as fast as they melt down. They are the farthest thing from being out of this series.

      • chanceoffleury - Apr 24, 2014 at 12:30 PM

        I don’t want this to come across as a “your just jealous” post either. Not what I’m insinuating by any means. I mean it in the same way I don’t like the Heat or Yankees or whoever. Their good teams that are over-hyped so it’s fun to root against them. So I get it. I just dislike fans who say all of their team’s hate is stemmed from some underlying jealous feeling inside. It’s much simpler than that. They’re just a fun team to root against and goaltending is their glaring soft spot. That’s why people pick on Fleury in particular.

  16. footballfan - Apr 24, 2014 at 6:25 AM

    Fleury has been getting pelted with pucks this whole series. Unless the front 5 stop giving up 46 shots a game there is no way this team wins. Stop blaming the goalie!

  17. cadlow - Apr 24, 2014 at 6:59 AM

    maybe they can trade him to Florida to compete with luongo.What a tandam that would be; The wilted flower and the flat tire.
    Bylsma should go as well, and they should focus a little more on Defense as opposed to primadonas.. just a suggestion.
    But hey what do I know I’m a bruins fan.

  18. toiletclown - Apr 24, 2014 at 7:41 AM

    Pens aren’t playing with heart. CBJ deserves this series.

  19. whammy71 - Apr 24, 2014 at 8:47 AM

    I realize there are a multitude of issues with the Pens right now…and the issues have been there for some time. But MAF is one of those issues.

    If I was a decision maker in the Pens organization….Fluery would have played his last game as a Pen last night. Start Zakoff and dress TV as the backup. Face it, this team ain’t winning the Cup…so it doesn’t really matter.

    • toiletclown - Apr 24, 2014 at 8:56 AM

      I think they have to stick with Fleury, if that sports psychologist helped him at all over the last year then we will find out on Saturday. If he melts down and we lose this series then management HAS to consider going in a different direction with not only him but the rest of the team.

    • miketoasty - Apr 24, 2014 at 9:10 AM

      Start Zatkoff, really? Thank god you aren’t the decision maker, I actually would like to win this series.

    • Kristenaux - Apr 24, 2014 at 10:43 AM

      I don’t know that Zakoff’s the answer but one thing’s for sure – unless they tie Fleury to the net, he isn’t the answer either! He’s the worst puck handler in the league…any league! Yet he continues to wander mindlessly after the puck.

      • latrobe21 - Apr 24, 2014 at 2:42 PM

        Exactly, Kris! Fluery is a 90-lb weakling who, even if he knew what to do with the puck when out of the net, cannot get past fumbling it before flicking it abou 15-20 feet into the corners. Other goalies fire the puck with authority around the boards or up near the blue line to start the other way . . . Ever hear 18,000 fans at Consol scream “get back in the net” when he wanders?

  20. dmarado - Apr 24, 2014 at 9:08 AM

    I know he should’ve stopped the game-winner, but the play that lead up to it was fantastic. Last night CBJ just needed it more and played like it. The Pens looked tired after they got the lead.

  21. miketoasty - Apr 24, 2014 at 9:09 AM

    This is actually pretty funny, never seen anything like it. Everyone in Pittsburgh is fine with the guy, and everyone else is acting like he should be sent to the AHL.

    Look Fleury was scored on by a deflection and a 5 – 3 goal before any other stuff happened. 20 seconds left, the puck bounces over his stick and well we all know what happened. Unlucky goal that could have happened to anyone. Should he have stayed in the net? Of course. At the same time, should the offense have taken countless careless penalty’s in the second, which is actually what got the BJ’s back in it?

    Everyone who interviewed him after the game said that he looked fine and was nothing like he was during his last two “Collapses”.

    Once again, everyone in Pittsburgh knows he’s the only reason we are even in a tied series right now, without our first or second line showing up (Two goals combined between the two in four games (Unless we include Stemp, who actually has only scored on Sutter’s line)), he’s really our only bright spot (You could also throw the Orpik – Martin pairing into that as well, have been damn near unbeatable).

    Also, how about the coach’s decision at the end of the third. Let’s put Letang and Scuderi out there (Possibly our worst two defenseman this series) with Crosby’s line when Sutter’s has been MUCH better at the shutdown role.

    There are a ton of problems with the Pens right now, and for the most part, it ain’t Fleury.

    • toiletclown - Apr 24, 2014 at 11:08 AM

      The OT goal from the blueline was all on Fleury. That just adds to the mistake goal by Dubinsky

  22. maalea - Apr 24, 2014 at 9:50 AM

    98% of what you say is correct, BUT Stanley Cup winning goalies are erasers. They erase the mistakes other players make. They do NOT give away games like last night.

    • toiletclown - Apr 24, 2014 at 11:09 AM

      You said it.

  23. joey4id - Apr 24, 2014 at 11:21 AM

    Difficult to blame Fleury for not stopping the puck behind the net considering it bounced over his stick. However, one has to question two things; 1) his decision to go back there and play the puck 2) his technique

    1) It’s always an adventure when a goalie wanders from his net to play the puck. He needs to consider the time on the clock, and the proximity of the opponents, and his own d before attempting to play the puck. Under the circumstances last night, there was no threat or reason for him to be behind the net.

    2) The d men are taught to avoid playing the puck with their stick stretched either side of their body because a miss could lead to an odd man rush or even a breakaway. Considering the circumstances last night Fleury’s number one thought should have been to protect/secure the puck. He could have accomplished that by positioning his body/pads squarely behind the puck. Point being is, you have to use your hockey IQ to make decisions based on the circumstances of the game.

    OT goal…. well… it’s pretty obvious that he choked. Maybe his confidence was shaken.

  24. jacketsfan7 - Apr 24, 2014 at 3:47 PM

    MAF
    The only flower to not blossom in the spring.
    Ouch

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