Pittsburgh, PA – – When did Marc-Andre Fleury become a veteran? That’s really snuck up on me and the rest of the hockey world. He’s about to embark on his third Stanley Cup and hopng to come out of it with a win. For now, he’s no longer the starter. He lost the job because of a horrible concussion. Since then his backup Matt Murray has made the most of the opportunity and because of time off and rust, Fleury hasn’t been able to win his old job back.
He was the first overall pick in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft. The best and most talent laden draft since 1988. Then Penguins general manager, Craig Patrick traded up for the taltented netminder and they drafted him first overall. It was a briliiant trade. Patrick dealt the 3rd overall pick, and 2nd round compensatory pick and Mikael Samuelsson to Florida. The Penguins also recveived a third round pick. And the rest was history.
Regarldless of his future in the steel city, Fleury will go down as one of the greatest goalies in Penguins history. Win or lose. Appearance in another Stanley Cup or not, nothing will change that. He’s revered by his teammates and loved by his fanbase.
“It just seems like it goes so fast,” said Fleury. “It’s okay. I’ve loved my time and learned a lot through the years. I have a lot more experience and have been through a lot of situations out on the ice.”
Gaining wisdom is something he didn’t want to think about but when asked if he thought he’d be in this position. He replied, “Not really, no.”
When I asked how much has changed in his life since his last Cup appearance, in 2009, he then got very worldly for a moment. But he would only allow himself to go there for a few seconds.
“I got married. Had two kids. I don’t know. A few things,” he smiled. “I’ve learned to deal with a lot on and off the ice.”
At his young age he’s already had a very rich career and it’s far from over. Whether or not he’s in the Penguins plans for next year is unclear at the moment. Could he be destined to become the starter in Las Vegas? Maybe. When the Stanley Cup ends we’ll start to find out more this summer.