Marc-André Fleury

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Marc-André Fleury
Marc-Andre Fleury 2011-02-10.jpg
Fleury in 2011.
Born (1984-11-28) November 28, 1984 (age 29)
Sorel-Tracy, QC, CAN
Height 6 ft 2 in (188 cm)
Weight 180 lb (82 kg; 12 st 12 lb)
Position Goaltender
Catches Left
NHL team Pittsburgh Penguins
National team  Canada
NHL Draft 1st overall, 2003
Pittsburgh Penguins[1]
Playing career 2003–present

Marc-André Fleury (born November 28, 1984) is a Canadian professional ice hockey goaltender playing for the Pittsburgh Penguins of the National Hockey League (NHL). Drafted out of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) first overall by the Penguins in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft,[1] Fleury played major junior for four seasons with the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles, earning both the Mike Bossy Trophy as the league's top prospect and the Telus Cup as the top defensive player in 2003. He joined the Penguins in 2003–04 and won a Stanley Cup championship with the team five years later in 2009. Internationally, Fleury has represented Canada twice as a junior, winning back-to-back silver medals at the World Junior Championships in 2003 and 2004. He won a gold medal with Team Canada at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

Fleury is known by the nickname "Flower,"[2] derived from the English translation of his last name (fleuri is "in bloom", or "in flower", in French). His goaltender masks always feature a fleur-de-lys on the backplate (in addition to the initials EFGT, honoring his four grandparents in memoriam), and have frequently featured some sort of flower on the front artwork, as well.

Playing career[edit]

Fleury played major junior in the QMJHL for the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles, beginning in 2000–01. After a strong 2002–03 campaign that included a silver medal with Team Canada at the World Junior Championships and QMJHL Second Team All-Star honours, he was chosen first overall in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft by the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Penguins acquired the first overall pick in a trade that sent the 1st and 73rd overall picks to the Penguins in exchange for Mikael Samuelsson, and the 3rd and 55th picks.[3] He is only the third goalie to be chosen first overall in the NHL draft, after Michel Plasse and Rick DiPietro.[4] Playing four seasons total with Cape Breton, Fleury's jersey number 29 was later retired by the club in his fourth NHL season on January 25, 2008.[5]

2003–04[edit]

Fleury immediately made his NHL debut in 2003–04 as the youngest goaltender in the league at 18 years old (three months less than the second-youngest, Rick DiPietro of the New York Islanders).[6] He appeared in his first NHL game on October 10, 2003, against the Los Angeles Kings, recording an impressive 46-save performance, which included a penalty shot save, in a 3–0 loss.[7] Fleury recorded his first NHL win in his very next start, on October 18, with 31 saves in a 4–3 win over the Detroit Red Wings.[8] His first NHL shutout came on October 30, in a 1–0 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks.[8] Fleury shared time with goaltenders Jean-Sébastien Aubin and Sébastien Caron[9] and lived up to first-overall-pick expectations early, earning Rookie of the Month honours in October with a 2–2–2 record, 1.96 goals against average (GAA) and .943 save percentage.[6] However, as the season progressed, his performance began to sink, mainly due to Pittsburgh's poor defense.[8][9] The team regularly gave up over 30 shots per game, and rarely managed to become an offensive threat.[10] He was loaned to Team Canada for the 2004 World Junior Championships in December and, upon returning with a second consecutive silver medal, he was sent back to the QMJHL on January 29, 2004.[9] In light of financial difficulties for the franchise, it is believed Fleury's $3 million contract bonus, which he would have potentially received if he stayed and met several performance goals, was a factor in the decision to return him to Cape Breton.[9] To no avail, Fleury offered to forfeit his bonus in order to remain with the club.[11] Fleury finished the QMJHL season with Cape Breton in a first round elimination and was subsequently assigned to Pittsburgh's American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and appeared in 2 post-season games.

2005–06[edit]

Marc-Andre Fleury in net in January 2006

As NHL play was postponed on account of the labour dispute, Fleury continued to play with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in 2004–05, where he posted a 26–19–4 record, a 2.52 GAA and a .901 save percentage. When NHL play resumed in 2005–06, Fleury started the season once more in the minors, but was quickly called up by Pittsburgh for a game against the Buffalo Sabres on October 10 to replace an injured Jocelyn Thibault.[12] He continued to play between Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and Pittsburgh until November 28, after which he remained with Pittsburgh. With the Penguins finishing last in the Eastern Conference and allowing a league-worst 316 goals,[13] Fleury recorded a 3.25 GAA and a .898 save percentage. Competing for time with Sébastien Caron and Jocelyn Thibault, Fleury emerged as the Penguins' starting goalie.

2006–07[edit]

Despite playing behind a shaky defense, Fleury was able to impress the team management with his technique and performance and signed a two-year contract extension worth $2.59 million in the off-season.[14] In the proceeding campaign, Fleury's stats improved significantly. Playing behind a better Penguins team, which featured rising superstars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, he recorded 5 shutouts and a 2.83 GAA. He earned his 40th win in a 2–1 victory over the New York Rangers in the season finale, joining Tom Barrasso as the only Penguins goaltenders to record 40 wins in a season.[15] He also broke Johan Hedberg's single season franchise record for most games and minutes played. Fleury made his NHL playoff debut against the Ottawa Senators, the eventual Stanley Cup finalists, in the first round and recorded his first playoff win in Game 2, recording 34 saves in a 4–3 win at Scotiabank Place.[16] Fleury was credited with strong performances in the series,[by whom?] but the Penguins were eliminated in five games.

2007–08[edit]

Fleury started the 2007–08 season slowly, then won four straight games before suffering a high-ankle sprain against the Calgary Flames on December 6.[17] He returned as a starter on March 2,[18] after a brief conditioning stint in the AHL with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. While sidelined, he decided to change the colour of his goaltending equipment from the bright yellow that had become his signature to plain white, in order to gain an optical advantage over shooters. He was also influenced and challenged by the very strong play of Ty Conklin, who took the team's starting job after being promoted from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in Fleury's absence. Upon his return from injury, Fleury helped the Penguins win the Atlantic Division, going 10–2–1 with a 1.45 GAA[18] en route to a 12–2 playoff run to the 2008 Stanley Cup Finals against the Detroit Red Wings. He recorded perhaps the best performance of his career at the time in Game 5 of the Finals at Detroit, where he stopped 55 of 58 shots in a triple overtime win for the Penguins to stave off elimination. Possibly the most memorable save he made came in the second period against Mikael Samuelsson – where he barely got a toe on the puck to keep Pittsburgh in the game, which Petr Sykora eventually ended.[19] Despite his strong play, the Penguins lost the series in six games, and Fleury's unfortunate attempt to cover an unseen loose puck by sitting on it in Game 6 resulted in him propelling the puck into the net; the own goal turned out to be the Stanley Cup-winner, credited to Henrik Zetterberg. "The one where I sat on it?" he said. "Oh yeah. (Expletive) yeah. That stunk." However, he would recover by the start of the following season:

"I'm done with it", Fleury said. "I swore enough about it. Nothing I can do anymore. I don't think we lost the finals on one goal, you know what I mean? I feel bad because I kind of put it in, but it was a best-out-of-seven. They had a good team, and they beat us."[20]

Fleury completed the playoffs with 3 shutouts – a new team record for one playoff season – and a 14–6 record. His .933 save percentage was also tops in the playoffs. In the off-season, Fleury signed a seven-year, US$35 million contract with the Penguins, on July 3. It included a no-movement clause, and a limited no-trade clause that triggers in the 2010–2011 NHL season.[21]

Marc-André Fleury with the Stanley Cup at the Pittsburgh Penguins Stanley Cup Parade on June 15, 2009.

2008–09[edit]

Fleury compiled a 35–18–7 record in 2008–09 to help the Penguins to a fourth place finish in the Eastern Conference, entering the 2009 playoffs as the defending Prince of Wales champions. Fleury was a major factor in the first round against the Penguins' intrastate rivals the Philadelphia Flyers. In Game 2 at home, with a 2–1 deficit late in the third, Fleury made a key toe save against Flyers top goal scorer Jeff Carter which was eventually pivotal as the Penguins tied the game late in the 3rd and won late in overtime. After the Flyers won Game 3 comfortably, Fleury once again stole a game for the Penguins in Game 4, stopping 43 shots to keep a surging Flyers lineup at bay and ensure a 3–1 lead. The Flyers won in Pittsburgh in Game 5, but Fleury saved another performance for the final period of Game 6. After initially letting in 3 goals, Fleury did not allow another as the Penguins rallied from a 3–0 deficit to win 5–3. The Penguins went the full distance in the second round against the Washington Capitals. In the deciding game seven, Fleury made a key breakaway glove save early in the contest against Capitals superstar Alexander Ovechkin, helping the Penguins eliminate Washington by a 6–2 score.[22] Fleury and the Penguins then swept the Carolina Hurricanes in the Conference Finals to return to the Stanley Cup Finals against the Detroit Red Wings for the second consecutive year. After being pulled in game five after allowing 5 goals, Fleury made another momentous breakway save in game six, this time with 1:39 minutes left in regulation against Dan Cleary to preserve a 2–1 lead and help the Penguins force a game seven.[23] Playing the series-deciding game in Detroit, Fleury played an integral role in the Penguins 2–1 victory to capture the franchise's third Stanley Cup, making two critical saves in the final seconds. After stopping an initial Henrik Zetterberg shot from the right faceoff circle, the rebound came loose to Nicklas Lidstrom at the left faceoff circle, forcing Fleury to make a diving stop with 1.5 seconds remaining to preserve the win and the Stanley Cup.[24][25]

2009–10[edit]

Fleury in 2010

Fleury recorded a 37-21-6 record during the 2009–10 NHL season, as the defending Stanley Cup Champion Penguins would again finish fourth in the Eastern Conference. After dispatching Ottawa in six games, the Penguins were upset by the eighth-seeded Montreal Canadiens in round two, ending their chance of a Stanley Cup repeat. Fleury recorded a 2.78 goals against average during the Playoffs.

2010–11[edit]

Fleury stretching during a 2011 game

With Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin sidelined with injuries for much of the 2010-11 season, Fleury and the Penguins' defense were relied on to carry the team to the playoffs. Fleury finished with a 36-20-5 record and the Penguins finished fourth in the Eastern Conference. The Penguins squared off against the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round of the playoffs where they were defeated in seven games despite taking a 3-1 series lead early. Fleury posted a .899 save percentage in the series.

2011–12[edit]

Backup goalies Brent Johnson and Brad Thiessen struggled through much of the 2011-12 season, leaving Fleury with his work cut out. Fleury played 67 games in the season, starting 23 consecutive games at one point leading up to the All-Star Break, and finished the season with 42 wins (second only to Pekka Rinne). Despite the impressive regular season campaign Fleury had a less than impressive playoff run, being eliminated by the Philadelphia Flyers in the first round and posting a .834 save percentage and 4.63 goals against average.

2012–13[edit]

Fleury returned to the nets after the lockout season with a vengeance, putting some of the best marks of his career in the shortened season. He finished with a record of 23–8, tying him for fourth in the league, while his save percentage and goals against average continued to place him in the top half of starting goaltenders. His playoff troubles continued however; after posting a shutout in his playoff game, he was less than impressive in following starts, leaving backup Tomas Vokoun to start for the remainder of the 2013 playoffs. The Penguins promising 2012–13 season ended abruptly with a 4-0 loss to the Boston Bruins in the Eastern Conference Finals. However, after the season Penguins officials confirmed that Fleury was still the starter.

International play[edit]

Medal record
Competitor for  Canada
Ice hockey
Winter Olympics
Gold 2010 Vancouver
World Junior Championships
Silver 2004 Finland
Silver 2003 Canada

Fleury won two silver medals with Team Canada at the IIHF World Junior Championships. He made his first appearance in 2003 in Halifax. Although Canada was defeated by Russia 3–2 in the gold medal game, Fleury posted a 1.57 GAA and was named the Top Goaltender and tournament MVP.[11]

Although Fleury was playing in the NHL the next year leading up to the tournament, the Pittsburgh Penguins lent him to Team Canada. Fleury expressed a desire to remain with his NHL club, but Penguins management decided the high-profile tournament would be good for his development.[11] He led Team Canada to the gold medal game for the second consecutive year, but made a costly mistake that lost his team the championship. With the game tied 3–3 with less than five minutes remaining in regulation, Fleury left his net to play the puck and avert a breakaway opportunity for Patrick O'Sullivan of Team USA. However, Fleury's clearing attempt hit his own defenceman, Braydon Coburn, and trickled into the net. This proved to be the difference, as the Americans held on for a 4–3 win.[26]

On December 30, 2009, Fleury was named to Team Canada for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. He did not play in the tournament as the goaltending duties were split between Martin Brodeur and Roberto Luongo, but still received a gold medal as Canada defeated the United States 3–2 in the final.

Year Team League Result GP W L T OTL MIN GA SO GAA SV%
2003  Canada WJC-A Silver medal icon.svg 5 4 1 267 7 1 1.57
2004  Canada WJC-A Silver medal icon.svg 5 4 1 299 9 1 1.81

Personal life[edit]

Fleury was born to André and France Fleury in Sorel-Tracy, Quebec, a small town near Montreal. He has one sibling, his younger sister Marylène.[27] When he was first drafted, he lived with Mario Lemieux for a brief period of time as he searched for more permanent living arrangements. He currently resides in Franklin Park, Pennsylvania.

Fleury got married on July 22, 2012 to longtime girlfriend Véronique LaRose. They have been dating since they were 15 years old. In a Twitter Q & A from March, when asked if they were excited for the baby, he replied "Yeah, really excited about it. A little bit nervous, you know. But I think it will be fun." They welcomed daughter Estelle on April 26, 2013.

Career statistics[edit]

Regular season[edit]

   
Season Team League GP W L T OTL MIN GA SO GAA SV%
1999–00 Charles-Lemoyne Riverains QAAA 15 4 9 0 780 36 1 2.77
2000–01 Cape Breton Screaming Eagles QMJHL 35 12 13 2 1705 115 0 4.05 0.886
2001–02 Cape Breton Screaming Eagles QMJHL 55 26 14 8 3043 141 2 2.78 0.915
2002–03 Cape Breton Screaming Eagles QMJHL 51 17 24 6 2889 162 2 3.36 0.910
2003–04 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 21 4 14 2 1154 70 1 3.64 0.896
2003–04 Cape Breton Screaming Eagles QMJHL 10 8 1 1 606 20 0 1.98 0.933
2003–04 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins AHL
2004–05 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins AHL 54 26 19 4 3029 127 5 2.52 0.901
2005–06 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 50 13 27 6 2809 152 1 3.25 0.898
2005–06 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins AHL 12 10 2 0 727 19 0 1.57 0.939
2006–07 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 67 40 16 9 3905 184 5 2.83 0.906
2007–08 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 35 19 10 2 1857 72 4 2.33 0.921
2007–08 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins AHL 5 3 2 0 297 7 0 1.42 0.950
2008–09 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 62 35 18 7 3641 162 4 2.67 0.912
2009–10 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 67 37 21 6 3798 168 1 2.65 0.905
2010–11 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 65 36 20 5 3695 143 3 2.32 0.918
2011–12 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 67 42 17 4 3896 153 3 2.36 0.913
2012–13 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 33 23 8 0 1858 74 1 2.39 0.916
NHL Totals 467 249 151 2 39 26613 1178 23 2.66 0.910

Playoffs[edit]

   
Season Team League GP W L T OTL MIN GA SO GAA SV%
2000–01 Cape Breton Screaming Eagles QMJHL 2 0 1 32 4 0 3.15 0.905
2001–02 Cape Breton Screaming Eagles QMJHL 16 9 7 1003 55 0 3.29 0.900
2002–03 Cape Breton Screaming Eagles QMJHL 4 0 4 228 17 0 4.47 0.894
2003–04 Cape Breton Screaming Eagles QMJHL 4 1 3 251 13 0 3.10 0.886
2003–04 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins AHL 2 0 1 92 6 0 3.90 0.800
2004–05 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins AHL 4 0 2 151 11 0 4.36 0.843
2005–06 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins AHL 5 2 3 311 18 0 3.48 0.883
2006–07 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 5 1 4 287 18 0 3.76 0.880
2007–08 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 20 14 6 1251 41 3 1.97 0.933
2008–09 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 24 16 8 1447 63 0 2.61 0.908
2009–10 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 13 7 6 798 37 1 2.78 0.891
2010–11 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 7 3 4 405 17 1 2.52 0.899
2011–12 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 6 2 4 337 26 0 4.63 0.834
2012–13 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 5 2 2 290 17 1 3.52 0.883
NHL Totals 80 45 34 4816 219 6 2.73 0.903

Awards[edit]

Major junior[edit]

NHL[edit]

International[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "NHL Entry Draft Year by Year Results". National Hockey League. 
  2. ^ LeBrun, Pierre (2008-04-28). "Fleury unbeatable". Canadian Press. Retrieved 2008-05-01. [dead link]
  3. ^ Spence, Rob (26 June 2009). "TRADING UP FOR MARC-ANDRE FLEURY". CrashingTheGoalie. Retrieved 16 April 2014. 
  4. ^ "Fleury has history against him". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Retrieved 2008-11-25. 
  5. ^ "A standout goalie with his feet on the ground". Cape Breton Post. Retrieved 2008-11-25. 
  6. ^ a b "Fleury named top rookie". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. 2003-11-05. Retrieved 2008-11-25. 
  7. ^ "Fleury shines debut; Penguins still lose". CBC. 2003-10-10. Retrieved 2008-11-25. 
  8. ^ a b c Worgo, Tom (2003-12-01). "It was all about the money". Hockey Digest. Retrieved 2006-09-02. [dead link]
  9. ^ a b c d "Penguins send Fleury back to juniors". CBC. 2004-01-29. Retrieved 2008-11-25. 
  10. ^ Kreiser, John (2003-12-12). "WJC respite should help Fleury". NHL.com. Retrieved 2006-09-02. [dead link]
  11. ^ a b c "Fleury will play for Canada at world juniors". CBC. 2003-12-07. Retrieved 2008-11-25. 
  12. ^ "Penguins call up Fleury to replace injured Thibault". USA Today. 2005-10-09. Retrieved 2008-11-25. 
  13. ^ "2005–2006 Conference Standings". Archived from the original on 2006-04-28. Retrieved 2006-09-02. 
  14. ^ "Penguins sign Fleury to two-year deal". 2006-08-05. Archived from the original on 2006-08-27. Retrieved 2006-09-02. 
  15. ^ Molinari, Dave (2007-04-08). "Penguins top Rangers, 2–1, in regular-season finale". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2008-11-25. 
  16. ^ "Crosby lifts Penguins over Senators in Game 2". CBC. 2007-04-14. Retrieved 2008-11-25. 
  17. ^ "Penguins' Fleury sidelined with high ankle sprain". CBC. 2007-12-12. Retrieved 2008-11-25. 
  18. ^ a b "Senators-Penguins Preview". ESPN. Retrieved 2008-11-25. 
  19. ^ "Fleury's performance Roy-esque". Rocky Mountain News. 2008-06-03. Retrieved 2008-11-25. 
  20. ^ Starkey, Joe (2008-10-03). "Pens' Fleury joins the elite". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Retrieved 2009-10-25. 
  21. ^ "Penguins lock up Fleury with seven-year $35 million deal". TSN. 2008-07-03. Retrieved 2008-07-03. 
  22. ^ "Penguins save best for last". CBC. 2009-05-13. Retrieved 2009-06-10. 
  23. ^ "Game 6's defining moment". ESPN. 2009-06-09. Retrieved 2009-06-10. 
  24. ^ "Penguins clip Red Wings to win Stanley Cup". CBC. 2009-06-12. Retrieved 2009-06-13. 
  25. ^ "Fleury's save erased doubts about big-game ability". The Sports Network. 2009-09-16. Retrieved 2009-09-16. 
  26. ^ Late comeback seals USA's first World Junior Hockey title
  27. ^ Kovacevic, Dejan (2003-06-29). "Good as goal: Penguins' prized pick built one step at a time". Pittsburgh Post Gazette. Retrieved 2009-02-22. 
  28. ^ http://penguins.nhl.com/club/news.htm?id=557400&cmpid=pit-fb-pghpenguins
  29. ^ Molinari, Dave. "Fleury Savors All-Star Spot". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Pierre-Marc Bouchard
Winner of the Mike Bossy Trophy
2002–03
Succeeded by
Alexandre Picard
Preceded by
Rick Nash
NHL first overall draft pick
2003
Succeeded by
Alexander Ovechkin
Preceded by
Ryan Whitney
Pittsburgh Penguins first round draft pick
2003
Succeeded by
Evgeni Malkin
Preceded by
Jamie Dixon
Dapper Dan Sportsman of the Year
2011 (co-winner with Dan Bylsma)
Succeeded by
Andrew McCutchen