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PHT Extra: Why so many blown leads? Does Fleury have the yips?

Apr 24, 2014, 5:13 PM EDT

We wrote this morning about all the blown leads we’ve seen in the playoffs, and why that might be. Click play for our video explanation.

Plus, does Marc-Andre Fleury have the yips? Because the way he’s struggled in the playoffs, when the pressure’s really on, suggests his problems could be mostly mental.

PS — If you don’t know what the yips are, read this. They’re an awful, awful thing.

  1. penguins87and71 - Apr 24, 2014 at 5:24 PM

    In the past yes, this year no. He let in two bad goals last night, I want to see how he bounces back from this in game 5 before I make a decision on how his playing.

  2. hockeyflow33 - Apr 24, 2014 at 5:25 PM

    All this blame gets placed on Fleury and yet his team was outshot last night, by a large margin, and he kept them in the game. The proper question should be why does the team lack the ability to play proper defense in front of him and why can’t the coaching staff develop a defensive game plan.

    • stakex - Apr 24, 2014 at 6:09 PM

      That sounds great and all…. until you consider that the Pens were 22 seconds from winning the game until Fleury handed Columbus a free goal with a horrendous blunder, and then gave up a laughably soft game winner in OT.

      Yes, the Pens as a team didn’t play great last night and their two stars are all but invisible… but they still had a 3-2 lead until Fleury blew it. You could argue that’s not fair to put it on Fleury, but that’s why he makes $5 million a year.

      • miketoasty - Apr 24, 2014 at 6:55 PM

        So instead of looking at the entire game you look at the last 25 seconds. Don’t worry about the numerous big saves Fleury made or the fact that his team put in little effort after the first.

        Don’t worry about Crosby who was supposed to be covering Dubinsky but instead gave him enough time to look at the night and get a good enough shot off to beat two shot blockers and a diving goalie. But yep, all on Fleury.

        They also had a 3 – 0 lead until the team started taking selfish penalty’s. But again it’s easier to look at the end of the game and automatically blame the goalie.

        Not saying that Fleury doesn’t get his fair share of blame, of course he should have to have stayed in the net at that point in the game. At the same time, when you’re up by two goals why is Stemp not in control of his stick, or why with less than five left in the game is Maata pinching and giving up odd man breaks, finally why are Malkin and Crosby combining for zero goals through four games. Hell, look at the power play with 10 minutes left. No effort at all, on a PP that could have ended the game there. But, yep, all Fleury’s fault.

      • hockeyflow33 - Apr 24, 2014 at 7:09 PM

        And what does everyone in front of him get paid for? What about the coaching staff?

  3. miketoasty - Apr 24, 2014 at 5:27 PM

    So, no mention of the fact that Fleury has basically been the only reason the Pens are still in this series? Or, since he let in two softy’s he’s automatically back to his old self?

    No goalie this postseason has played remarkably well and to tell you the truth I would definitely take MAF over pretty much any other goalie out there right now.

  4. imleftcoast - Apr 24, 2014 at 5:27 PM

    Penguins fault for not making a move. It’s great that LA hasn’t been able to ruin the playoffs with that crap system. Nice to have lead changes and excitement.

  5. bleedrangerblue - Apr 24, 2014 at 5:28 PM

    Live and die by your goalie. Stick with him.

  6. skr213 - Apr 24, 2014 at 5:38 PM

    Stop talking about MAF for christ sake. Talk about the team in front of him that was outshot 46-25. Talk about the coach who has too-little-too-late only just finally called out his team for a lack of effort. MAF made one mistake – what’s the excuse for the rest of the team?

  7. patthehockeyfan - Apr 24, 2014 at 5:45 PM

    The only people who have the yips are the people who are asking whether Fleury has the yips. (Not you, Jason.) Next, they’ll all be getting the vapors.

  8. dropthepuckeh - Apr 24, 2014 at 5:54 PM

    He’s got the yips more than an above ground pool full of annoying little chihuahuas. Both last goals were soft and the GAA average of the Penguins in the playoffs since they won a Cup has been well documented. When was the last meaningful game MAF “stole”? He’s a headcase these days and as the stakes get higher the pressure gets to him more and more.

  9. pastabelly - Apr 24, 2014 at 6:30 PM

    They trusted him so much last year that he got zero starts in the conference finals last year. “Yips” is a kind phrase for choker.

  10. c9castine - Apr 24, 2014 at 7:23 PM

    power plays.

    seems like no matter what whoever is losing at the time gets a lot of gift powerplays. this goes for all teams.

    i used to be able to understand and support nhl officiating. now a days, it all seems so predictable and choreographed. you can have identical plays but depending on who does it and at what point in the game and what mood the ref is in, it may or may not get called.

    seems like the leagues answer to todays goaltending and defensive tactics is dishing out powerplays

  11. pensman29 - Apr 24, 2014 at 7:32 PM

    I disagree with the notion fleury should have stayed in his net. No matter the point in the game, it is his responsibility to retrieve that puck, and start the breakout, unless it was a delayed icing, then he shouldn’t have played it but I don’t no for certain if that was the case

  12. LampyB - Apr 24, 2014 at 7:41 PM

    Yips happened to me senior year if high school during varsity spring training. Worst experience of my life lasted all season it was embarrassing.

    Fleury doesnt have the yips now, but it could very well have happened in the past. It’s nothing to joke about and can end a career. Its humiliating.

  13. muckleflugga - Apr 24, 2014 at 8:09 PM

    i don’t know why fleury would have the yips with the roof coming down around him and the arena so loud players could barely hear whistles …?

    the term “… it was so loud i could barely hear myself think …” comes to mind … it is long proven fact human performance falls-off as noise increases in a working environment

    the threshold limit for damage to hearing is at a cumulative value of 88 decibels over four hours, 91 over two and 94 over one … playoff coverage usually involves sound meters showing noise levels reaching toward 120 decibels at peaks and over 100 sustained …

    low frequency sounds in the chest resonance range from about 50 to 60 hertz, an affect known to cause annoyance and discomfort as sound pressure levels increase

    in extended games involving overtime, close play and high stakes, crowds go nuts and player exposure increases as effectiveness decreases proportionately … players are tired physically and mentally by noise

    all of which likely contributed to fleury’s lack of concentration on the tying goal, playing in a howling environment close to sound enhancing boards and glass, and likely without even nominal hearing protection

    i think either the tsn panel or cbc panel, both head-on-head to be the best in the business, assessed the overtime goal correctly as not being fleury’s fault, contending any save by any goalie under the circumstances would have been lucky …

    as foligno collected the puck, it rose flat on his blade through delivery, then behaved as a knuckleball might behave, changing course while twisting and diving from apex to goal by two feet or better

    fleury was confused on the tying goal and unlucky on the overtime goal

    • maalea - Apr 24, 2014 at 8:29 PM

      What about the fact that every 30 or so minutes, he gets 15 minutes of relative silence in the locker room?

    • petersteelewannabe - Apr 25, 2014 at 11:29 AM

      The other obvious question-then why did Bobs (and the CBJ’s as a whole) seem to get better and better as the game went on?

  14. gbart22 - Apr 24, 2014 at 9:10 PM

    Why so many blown leads? Oh is it because their is such parity in the league now that the games are just as even as possible?

  15. muckleflugga - Apr 24, 2014 at 9:23 PM


    good question, but the threshold limit values are based on average over sampling period noted

    anyone can be exposed to sound pressure bursts that permanently damage hearing in the moment, but values contributing to potential damage are softened through averaging in the period noted … effectively hiding cause for further examination

    employers in any endeavour should commit new employees to benchmark hearing tests, from which to measure responsibility for compensable hearing loss … many don’t, hoping to hide the apparent hazard

    [ ditto concussion testing and brain scans in professional sports … a trend players, if not teams are soon likely to adopt before playing in the nhl and nfl ]

    if fleury was in a sound proof chamber between periods, and if decibel values presented during exposure while actually in the arena-common during play contribute to an average for the total period, he’ll suffer the effects according to limits over safe values regardless

    of course everyone has different tolerances related to physiognomy …

    an unnamed player with proclivity toward other player’s ring-meat and balls, likely has a three inch thick skull, notorious for conveying lower frequency and ultrasound to the inner ear from behind the outer ear resulting in loss of lower frequency hearing facility in the cochlear ear … likely contributing to his chronic stupidity implicit through a dense skull, and hearing loss thirty five pounds of bony matter invites

    so no, breaks don’t matter … the values are cumulative, are based on averages, and are case specific to a degree that i doubt applies in the roar of an hockey arena

    as an aside, anyone who brings a minor to a hockey or football game without providing hearing protection, full ear coverage preferred but foam inserts better than nothing, is completely irresponsible

    they should protect themselves as well, not just from crowd noise, but from blaring in-house sound systems with horns and sirens and announcers all trying to be the next michael buffer

  16. jshimota01 - Apr 25, 2014 at 4:49 AM

    not sure what was worse – me for reading all that or you for writing it! It’s moot. all players are exposed equally.

    Fleury has mishandled pucks behind his net before AND the Pens D is porous. And as the other gent said at 5 mill, stop the darn puck. As the article implied, I think Fleury has the yips.

    The Pens rely on being on O and have stacked their deck that way. Live by the sword… die by the sword.

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