May 8, 2014, 5:46 PM EDT
Remember a couple of weeks ago when everyone was busy wondering about Marc-Andre Fleury’s mental state?
OK, fine, maybe not everyone was busy wondering about it. Penguins coach Dan Bylsma insists his players have never lost faith in their goalie, and we’re not about to call him a liar.
But there’s a reason the New York Times felt Fleury was a compelling enough figure to write about, complete with a headline that started, “Once Shaky in Postseason…”
From Greg Norman to Peyton Manning, whenever an athlete develops a reputation, deserved or not, for folding under the pressure, that athlete becomes more interesting to watch in pressure situations. Especially since, once an athlete’s been labeled a “choker,” it’s really, really hard to shake that label.
Oh, and the fact the Penguins enlisted a sports psychologist to help Fleury (said Bylsma: “I think the mental toughness, the mental approach, the mental side of the game is something that needs to be a focus”) didn’t do anything to deter the narrative.
But it’s clearly a narrative that Fleury is sick of talking about.
From the Times:
Fleury bristled when asked if the professional help he received after his repeated playoff failures had fixed a flaw in his approach.
“I answered that already, I’m not talking about it again,” he said as his equipment was packed for the trip back to Pittsburgh. “You can look it up.”
Fleury has been excellent against the Rangers, posting two shutouts and a .949 save percentage. But there’s still a long way to go before the Penguins reach their ultimate goal, with pressure situations aplenty along the way.
Game 5 of the series goes Friday in Pittsburgh.
- One more time, with feeling: Flames stage yet another comeback, eliminate Vancouver 11
- Keith conquers: Blackhawks come back, eliminate Predators 36
- Red Wings smother Lightning, take 3-2 series lead 17
- Going the distance: Isles edge Caps to force Game 7 29
- WATCH LIVE: Today’s Stanley Cup playoff action 6
- Lucic issues statement on father’s passing 10
- Hall caught off guard by Oilers’ front office shuffle 18
- Wild’s Dubnyk shakes off six-goal night, saves 36 as Blues pushed to brink 34
- WATCH LIVE: Tonight’s Stanley Cup Playoff action 5
- Malkin: ‘I want to say sorry to fans, to my teammates’ 58
- Too little, too late: Rangers stifle Penguins for 2-1 series lead (114)
- It’s Done: Rangers eliminate Penguins in overtime (108)
- Bettman under fire after saying ‘Katy Perry’ chant wasn’t sexist (92)
- Okposo blasts ‘idiot’ Wilson after physical outing versus Isles (82)
- Preds, Forsberg finally solve Darling, push series to Game 6 (76)