Posts Tagged ‘Marc-Andre Fleury’

NHL Playoffs: Penguins storm back for victory over Blue Jackets in Game 1

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Marc-Andre Fleury (right) and the Penguins had to battle for a comeback win over Columbus. (Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

Marc-Andre Fleury (29) and the Penguins had to battle for a comeback win over Columbus. (Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

By Mike Majeski

On paper, the Penguins are heavy favorites over the Blue Jackets. Not only did Pittsburgh sweep Columbus in five regular-season games, but the Penguins are also an experienced playoff team with two of the biggest offensive weapons in the NHL. The Blue Jackets, who are making only the second playoff appearance in franchise history, have a young lineup and are without experienced veterans Nick Foligno, Nathan Horton and R.J. Umberger. But Game 1 of this series on Wednesday night showed that things aren’t always as they seem.

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  • Published On Apr 16, 2014
  • NHL players with something to prove: mission accomplished?

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    By Allan Muir

    Prior to the season, the SI.com staff identified 19 players who had something on the line in 2013-14. These players faced pressures that went beyond what others had to deal with — from living up to either their hype or their fat paychecks (or both), to getting back to the qualities that made them noteworthy in the first place.

    Today, with the season in the home stretch, we went back to that original list to examine those expectations and see which players met them … and which fell short, sometimes miserably so.

    Bryan Bickell, Chicago Blackhawks

    Bryan Bickell of the Chicago Blackhawks

    Playoff hero Bryan Bickell (29) has had an up and down season for the defending champs. (Elise Amendola/AP)

    What we said then: Bickell emerged as a game-breaking power forward (nine goals, 17 points in 23 postseason games) during Chicago’s run to the Stanley Cup last year, exactly the sort of player that several teams were seeking in free agency. Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman recognized how hot a commodity Bickell had become and signed him at full value (four years, $16 million), though he had to trade Dave Bolland and Michael Frolik to create cap space. Even at 27, Bickell remains a work in progress. Stretches of inconsistency are inevitable, but he needs to translate that playoff magic into 25-plus regular season goals. We think he will.

    The verdict now: After getting off to a solid start with four goals in October, Bickell’s season has been defined by extended periods of ineffective play. He’s been limited by injuries — a lower-body ailment cost him 15 games in November and December, and he’s currently out with an upper-body issue — but it’s the inconsistency of his physical play that’s more troubling than his weak numbers (10 goals, two assists). Coach Joel Quenneville has cut Bickell’s minutes and has even benched him, but he hasn’t been able to ignite the passion or the offensive touch that was expected from the big winger. Anything short of another magical postseason for him and his new contract will veer towards bust.

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  • Published On Mar 27, 2014
  • Penguins’ Fleury honors Pittsburgh Steelers with Stadium Series mask

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    Marc-Andre Fleury will don this Steelers-inspired mask for a Stadium Series clash with the Blackhawks.

    Marc-Andre Fleury will don a Steelers-inspired mask for a Stadium Series game. (Photo courtesy Stephane Bergeron)

    By Allan Muir

    Marc-Andre Fleury sure knows how to play up to Pittsburgh sports fans. The Penguins netminder drove them crazy by donning a Steelers helmet for some post-game shenanigans during that team’s most recent Super Bowl run. But now he’s prepared to take his support for the club to a whole new level.

    When the Penguins visit Soldier Field this Saturday for a Stadium Series clash with the Blackhawks, Fleury will debut a one-off mask designed to mimic a Steelers helmet.

    The mask was painted by Fleury’s long-time collaborator, Stephane Bergeron of Griff Airbrush.

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  • Published On Feb 25, 2014
  • Top Line: Fleury’s miraculous save; Stamkos sets return date; more links

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    By Allan Muir

    An annotated guide to this morning’s must-read hockey stories:

    • “Unfortunately, I’m going to be on the highlights for quite a time with that one,” said Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson on Monday night after being victimized by the highlight-reel save above. Save of the year? Maybe. What do you think of Marc-Andre Fleury’s larcenous glove grab?

    • Sidelined by an unidentified illness, Kris Letang sat out his third consecutive game for the Penguins. Team doctors are running tests on the All-Star defender, but haven’t come up with any answers for what might be ailing him, or how long he’ll be out of the lineup.

    • Steven Stamkos is aiming for a return to action on Saturday night, but skating against the Red Wings doesn’t guarantee that he’ll be ready to join Team Canada.

    • The TSN panel talks NHL trade rumors, including the latest on Ryan Callahan (he wants how much?), David Legwand and Thomas Vanek, who reportedly is willing to leave money on the table to sign with the team he wants. Wonder who that could be …?

    • Whenever the Islanders get around to moving Vanek, they’d better address this area of immediate need with the return.

    • This won’t make Sabres fans crazy at all: Tyler Seguin almost came to Buffalo last summer. Watching what he’s done to accelerate the Stars’ rebuild, that thought is gonna hurt for a long time …

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  • Published On Feb 04, 2014
  • Top Line: Ray Emery vs. Braden Holtby fight sparks rules talk; more links

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    Ray Emery fights Braden Holtby

    Ray Emery’s beatdown of Braden Holtby was one of the more lopsided goalie bouts of recent years. (Tom Mihalek/AP)

    By Allan Muir

    An annotated guide to this morning’s must-read hockey stories:

    • Gary Bettman danced around a question about Ray Emery’s beating of Braden Holtby of Friday night, but not before suggesting that it was something the league’s general managers would look at. Could a rule change be on the horizon?

    • Mike Russo says that the Wild could definitely use more scoring, but adds that with a promising group of kids on the roster, and in the pipeline, they may have more pressing needs than Islanders’ winger Thomas Vanek next summer. Maybe Russo is just throwing a little cold water on a rumor . . . or maybe Minnesota is hoping to send out a message that it’s not sitting around waiting for Vanek with bags of money.

    • Sabres enforcer Patrick Kaleta cleared waivers on Sunday. Now what?

    • Nazem Kadri has always wanted to be the go-to guy for the Maple Leafs. With forwards Tyler Bozak and Dave Bolland out indefinitely, Kadri finally has his chance.

    • Toronto GM Dave Nonis admits that the Maple Leafs are fortunate to be 10-5-0, and also discusses what lies ahead for the team in this interview with Mike Zeisberger.

    • Great goaltending and a star player channeling his inner Jonathan Toews have made the Lightning the surprise team in the East.

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  • Published On Nov 04, 2013
  • Team USA/Team Canada Olympic Goalie Power Rankings: Week 3

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    By Allan Muir

    Each week, we’ll rank the top contenders to man the pipes for Team USA and Team Canada in Sochi based on their play to date. (All stats current as of Wed. Oct. 23)

    Team USA

    1. Jonathan Quick, Los Angeles Kings

    His up-and-down season continued with a soft third period against the Flames on Monday, but at least he has his shootout mojo going for him. After shutting down Nashville on Thursday, he’s 3-0 in the skills competition, and hasn’t allowed a goal on the eight shots he’s faced. (Last week: 1)

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  • Published On Oct 23, 2013
  • Top Line: Florida Panthers trade rumors; another goofy goal; more links

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    Marc-Andre Fleury is now under the gun with Tomas Vokoun out three to six months

    Marc-Andre Fleury allowed a soft goal from center ice on Saturday night. (Hans Pennink/AP)

    By Allan Muir

    An annotated guide to this morning’s must-read hockey stories:

    • Bruce Garrioch speculates about an impending fire sale in Florida, trade options for the Oilers and the possible availability of Rangers prospect Chris Kreider in this week’s Sunday column.

    • Another night, another entry into the brutal goal-allowed club. This time, it was Marc-Andre Fleury revisiting his playoff form by allowing one from center ice. Forget how nicely he’s rebounded from last spring’s playoff debacle. That softie is exactly why there’s almost no chance Team Canada officials consider him for Sochi.

    • Cory Schneider’s first exposure to the Devils/Rangers rivalry went pretty well. He earned his 10th career shutout and helped the team snap a franchise record seven-game losing streak as New Jersey won its first game of the season.

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  • Published On Oct 20, 2013
  • Team USA/Team Canada Olympic Goalie Power Rankings: Week 2

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    Jonathan Quick of the Los Angeles Kings

    Jonathan Quick’s skill ( Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)

    By Allan Muir

    Each Monday, we’ll rank the top contenders to man the pipes for Team USA and Team Canada in Sochi based on their play to date.

    Team USA

    1. Jonathan Quick, Los Angeles Kings: No surprise to see Quick make three stops in the shootout and preserve a win over the Hurricanes on Friday. He has a 70 percent save percentage in the skills competition, sixth-best among active goalies. That skill might come in handy in Sochi. (Last week: 4)

    2. Ryan Miller, Buffalo Sabres: He returned from a minor injury just in time to have his defense desert him in a 4-1 loss to Columbus, but was exceptional in a 2-1 defeat by the Blackhawks that was played entirely in Buffalo’s zone. (Last week: 1)

    3. Jimmy Howard, Detroit Red Wings: He looked great in a tough win over the Flyers, keeping the Wings in the game early when Philly was pressing, and late when they were clinging to a one-goal lead. That’s Howard at his best. (Last week: 3)

    4. Craig Anderson, Ottawa Senators: Tough to blame the keeper when the team in front of him abandons all pretense of playing defense, but he looked a little shellshocked when he was pulled just four minutes into Sunday night’s game against the Ducks. (Last week: 2)

    5. Cory Schneider, New Jersey Devils: He’s winless with the Devils, but he gives them a chance to grab two points every night. He was sensational during a third period New Jersey power play (not a typo) on Sunday night against the Jets, stopping two breakaways and keeping the score close. (Last week: NR)

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  • Published On Oct 14, 2013
  • Team USA/Team Canada Olympic Goalie Power Rankings: Week 1

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    Ryan Miller of the Buffalo Sabres played well in his first two starts of the 2013-14 NHL season.

    Ryan Miller’s quest to keep his starting gig on Team USA started well…then an injury hit. (Bill Wippert/Getty Images)

    By Allan Muir

    Each Monday morning, we’ll rank the top contenders to man the pipes for Team Canada and Team USA in Sochi based on their play to date.

    Team USA

    1. Ryan Miller, Buffalo Sabres: He’s stopped 77 of the 80 shots he’s faced in two games behind a porous Buffalo defense, reminding everyone how well he responds when facing waves of pressure, but he’s now day-to-day with a lower-body injury.

    2. Craig Anderson, Ottawa Senators: He bested Miller in Saturday’s goaltending duel and boasts a .948 save percentage through two appearances, but the Sabres’ keeper gets the nod at No. 1 based strictly on my eye test.

    3. Jimmy Howard, Detroit Red Wings: Played well in his first two starts before being victimized by turnovers and general sloppiness in 4-1 loss to the Bruins. Looks like the No. 3 stopper he seems destined to be in Sochi.

    4. Jonathan Quick, Los Angeles Kings: He was pulled from just his second start — ostensibly to spark a momentum shift — but Quick wasn’t particularly sharp while allowing four goals on 27 shots against the Jets on Friday.

    5. Tim Thomas, Florida Panthers: It’ll take more than a couple of games to scrape off the rust that accumulated during his year-long sabbatical. He’s been inconsistent through two starts, but his familiar competitiveness was in ample evidence. Despite being overlooked for a camp invite, he’s in the mix.

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  • Published On Oct 07, 2013
  • Tomas Vokoun’s injury could put Pittsburgh Penguins in shopping mode

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    Marc-Andre Fleury is now under the gun with Tomas Vokoun out three to six months

    All eyes are on Marc-Andre Fleury, who is now more crucial than ever to the Penguins’ Cup hopes. (Hans Pennink/AP)

    By Allan Muir

    If Marc-Andre Fleury has somehow managed to ignore the pressure to rebound from last season’s disastrous playoff performance, there’s no avoiding it now.

    Fleury will be without his partner, and safety net, Tomas Vokoun for 3-6 months while the backup keeper recovers from the effects of dealing with blood clots in his pelvis.

    “[Vokoun] will be on blood thinning medicine,” Pittsburgh GM Ray Shero said Wednesday morning. “During this time he’s OK to workout and do everything except play hockey.”

    That’s understandable given the danger posed by even a small cut when taking this type of medication.

    “Right now, I’m not thinking about my career or playing hockey,” a sullen Vokoun said. “I’m more worried about long-term health. I know where I stand [short term]. Three months is a minimum. After that I’ll evaluate where I am.”

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  • Published On Oct 02, 2013


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