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Thread: Marc-Andre Fleury Will Be The Key For The Pens

      
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    Default Marc-Andre Fleury Will Be The Key For The Pens

    The 2010-11 season is upon us. Pretty soon we'll be sitting back and taking in all of the festivities at the Consol Energy Center and watching the Pens rebound after abruptly being bounced from the 2009-10 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

    As it is every season in Hockey, new faces come, old faces go. For the first time under GM Ray Shero's watch the Pittsburgh Penguins have money they can freely spend. While the Penguins were dead last in payroll in Ray Shero's initial season of 2006-07, contracts for Crosby, Malkin, Staal and Fleury would come soon enough, so it was smart to not waste money you were going to need the next few seasons. Now with Sergei Gonchar's contract off the books and seeing Ruslan Fedotenko, Ponikaorvsky (thank goodness) and Guerin all not asked back, Ray Shero finally had some free money to spend this offseason. A little more than $10 million.

    ... and it was decided that most of it would be spent on Defense.

    Fleury_Puck.jpgReasons given by Ray Shero for not spending any of the available cap room was due to the Free Agent list for Wingers we'll say being "less than acceptable". Which it was. I'd have tried to entertain trades since the Pens don't use any of their forwards prospects for anything but Trades. That route perhaps wasn't even visited or lacks interest from other parties.

    So why Defense?

    I'm not even sure why I'm asking that question. For years and years and probably a few more years, Pens fans have been whining, *****ing and complaining that we need more and better Defense. I remember the Pens going into the 2007-08 Season. A very young and inexperienced Pens team got their teeth kicked in, in the first round of the 06-07 Stanley Cup Playoffs by a far more experienced Ottawa Senators team. The view was we were too soft defensive and the consensus on the internet was that we needed Scott Hannan and Andy Sutton. Luckily we got neither since while both are physical neither are more than average in their own zone.

    Fast Forward to 2010 and the main complaint is that the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2009-10 ranked 20th in the NHL in Goals Against averaging 2.87 against per game. There was little complaining after the Pens won the Stanley Cup in 2008-09 while ranking just 17th in the NHL in with a 2.84 Goals Against Average.

    Some will say that we lost a lot of defense when Rob Scuderi and Hal Gill left and we failed to replace their production.

    What production?

    One of the biggest improvements to the Pens defense starting with Dan Bylsma's arrival as coach is that the Pens play in a more aggressive system. The forecheck is a more aggressive 2-1-2 than the passive 1-2-2 swing that Michel Therrien seemed to employed. What this did was simply keep possession in the Offensive Zone more and provided more shooting chances.

    How about Blocking Shots?

    It's a key part of the game. It's a part of the game I'd like to see partially eliminated since I feel it cheapens the game but it's here. It's simple, you block shots, they don't get to the goalie

    We lost about 100 blocked shots. I'm sure it mattered some but not to a great extent. Not that amount

    What about Killing Penalties?

    Very important defensive aspect of the game. If effective at doing this, Killing a penalty can be a big momentum shifter

    Basically the 2009-10 Pittsburgh Penguins killed penalties better. The entire league was killing penalties better obviously looking at how we ranked lower from year to year yet had a drastic improvement in overall Penalty killing.

    What about Shots On Goal?

    If you limit shots on goal you limit your opponents chances to score. This isn't rocket science. Most Puck bunnies even understand this. You also limit rebounds and secondary chances as well.

    Great improvement by the Pens last year in this department and that can be more attributed to an improved forecheck system under Dan Bylsma over the complicated, softer one that Michel Therrien preached.

    The Pittsburgh Penguins stayed pretty much exactly the same as a Faceoff team so it wasn't like we lost faceoffs and zone possession.

    So once again, we can squash the myths about how the Pens were left stinging defensively from the loses of Rob Scuderi and Hal Gill. Those 2 players leaving didn't effect us in most statistical categories. We could talk about positional hockey and things of that sort, but normally people hate to talk about that stuff, so we'll just ignore anyone saying something like "we gave up the neutral zone too easily". If things like that were close to being true, the Pens wouldn't have been ranked 6th overall in Shots on Goal against.

    • The Penalty kill is Top 10.
    • The Shots Against is Top 10
    • Blocked Shots is Top 10


    Yet the Pens are still ranked 20th in Goals Against. The Pens were obviously a good Penalty Killing team, so the issue lies 5 on 5 where the Pens ranked 22nd in Goals Against. The Pens also gave up a very high 10 goals against on Empty Net shots. Basically useless goals.

    Here's the main problem...

    Marc-Andre Fleury - .905% save percentage.

    I had to go to Page 2 at nhl.com to even find Marc-Andre Fleury's name in the goalies list. He was ranked 35th. Goalies with 60 or more starts, Fleury was 2nd worst in Save Percentage.

    Fleury_oops.jpgI've always defended Fleury and still do. I believe that Marc-Andre Fleury is the most athletically gifted goalie in the entire NHL. He's perhaps one of the quickest moving goalies with great reflexes but he often has mental lapses where it appears he's sleeping back there in net. Simply put, there's no reason for Fleury to have a Save Percentage that low. Even in Fleury's best statistical season in 2008-09, his save percentage was the equal of then Philadelphia Flyers goalie Antero Nittymaki.

    With the money Fleury is making his production needs to step up. The Possession game the Pittsburgh Penguins employ, the amount of blocked shots, the lack of shots on goal, an "elite" goaltender like Marc-Andre Fleury should be posting Top 10 Save percentage numbers which would be a .920 or higher. Fleury's career high is .912 in 2008-09.

    We went out and spent almost every last free dime on Defense this year to make up for the loss of Sergei Gonchar. Make up for the loss of Mark Eaton's shot blocking. Zybnek Michalek nor Paul Martin will ever touch Gonchar's offensive production but they will keep the Pittsburgh Penguins a Top 5-10 shot blocking team. They will keep the Pittsburgh Penguins Penalty Killing team in the Top 10 and do so at a higher cost than the players they are replacing... but they will not improve Marc-Andre Fleury's save percentage. Marc-Andre Fleury needs to improve in that area himself and improve by a good amount to to bring a .905% up to a .920% and beyond.

    Goalies make the biggest difference. It can be argued that Fleury was badly outplayed against the Montreal Canadiens in the 2009-10 playoffs by Jaroslav Halak. The Pens controlled possession by a ridiculous margin, out shot the Canadiens by a ridiculous margin and Fleury was sporting an embarrassing .891 save percentage. It can be argued that we lacked a TRUE shutdown center (not the myth about Jordan Staal being one) and it allowed Michael Cammalleri to own the Pens. Any way you slice it, Fleury was outplayed by his counterpart across the ice when he was needed to be better.

    So before we look at the new acquisitions on Defense and suggest that with their additions the Pens defense will automatically be better let's consider that all of the various stats defensively for the Pens in 2009-10 showed that the defense wasn't as bad as people make it out to be. What was bad was Fleury's save percentage which lead to a higher Goals Against Average.

    It's officially time for Fleury to step it up
    Last edited by Kipper; Feb-27-2015 at 08:31 AM.
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    Default Re: Marc-Andre Fleury Will Be The Key For The Pens


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    Default Re: Marc-Andre Fleury Will Be The Key For The Pens

    Quote Originally Posted by (419)BlackNGold View Post
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    I'm waiting for BGK to read this
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    Default Re: Marc-Andre Fleury Will Be The Key For The Pens

    Your article is right on Kip.

    If Fleury doesn't do a better job, this year, at stopping pucks, I feel he will never reach the status of "elite" goaltender. Sure he stepped it up two years ago in the playoffs, but even in the SC winning year, his save percentage was pedestrian.

    He really doesn't have any excuses - the stats that you pointed out show the team playing at a level that should translate into more wins.

    MAF now has the experience and natural talent to dominate, and the expectations for him to perform at a higher level are justified.
    Last edited by Crosby Clan; Sep-10-2010 at 01:51 PM.

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    Default Re: Marc-Andre Fleury Will Be The Key For The Pens

    Quote Originally Posted by Crosby Clan View Post
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    Your article is right on Kip.

    If Fleury doesn't do a better job, this year, at stopping pucks, I feel he will never reach the status of "elite" goaltender. Sure he stepped it up two years ago in the playoffs, but even in the SC winning year, his save percentage was pedestrian.

    He really doesn't have any excuses - the stats that you pointed out show the team playing at a level that should translate into more wins.

    MAF now has the experience and natural talent to dominate, and the expectations for him to perform a a higher level are justified.
    Even more than that though, if Fleury doesn't stop more pucks, then we really wasted a lot of money in an area where the biggest upgrade was really in goal (which has been my belief in general).

    People will say that fleury was left out to hang or dry but you know what? That happens to every goalie and with the way the Pens block shots, maintain offensive possession and prevent shots on goal, he wasn't being hung out to dry so much that he was ranked 35th in save percentage or 2nd worst amongst goalies with 60 games or more.

    Someone could probably say that we allowed too much traffic in the crease or in front of the net but we definitely didn't address those concerns with Michalek and Martin who are both unphysical players. Michalek had 80 hits for Phoenix last year which was 10th on the team and Martin the last close to full season he played in 08-09 only registered 40 hits. By comparison Goligoski had 50 hits last year, Letang had 117
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    Default Re: Marc-Andre Fleury Will Be The Key For The Pens

    Quote Originally Posted by Kipper View Post
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    Even more than that though, if Fleury doesn't stop more pucks, then we really wasted a lot of money in an area where the biggest upgrade was really in goal (which has been my belief in general).

    People will say that fleury was left out to hang or dry but you know what? That happens to every goalie and with the way the Pens block shots, maintain offensive possession and prevent shots on goal, he wasn't being hung out to dry so much that he was ranked 35th in save percentage or 2nd worst amongst goalies with 60 games or more.

    Someone could probably say that we allowed too much traffic in the crease or in front of the net but we definitely didn't address those concerns with [HIGH-LIGHT]Michalek and Martin who are both unphysical players. Michalek had 80 hits for Phoenix last year which was 10th on the team and Martin the last close to full season he played in 08-09 only registered 40 hits. By comparison Goligoski had 50 hits last year, Letang had 117
    [/HIGH-LIGHT]

    I didn't realize that - very disappointing to see those numbers. When Gogo has more hits than you that's not good. Hopefully they bring other skills to the table to make up for their lack of physicality.

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    Default Re: Marc-Andre Fleury Will Be The Key For The Pens

    Yeah & Orpik has a Ton of Hits & takes himself out of position all the ****IN time


    Martin & Michalek are positional D Men !!! In other words they don't run around to hit guys & take themselves out of position

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    Default Re: Marc-Andre Fleury Will Be The Key For The Pens

    Quote Originally Posted by Kipper View Post
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    I'm waiting for BGK to read this
    Haha, why? I like what you said. Which part do you think I will disagree with?

    I will say one thing...and there is no statistic that can show this (at least not one I know of...maybe the stats geeks out there will prove me wrong)...It sounds like you are saying we would be better off with Gonch and Eaton over Zyb and Martin??? Is that right? (I'm askin cause I'm not sure I read it right.)

    Anyway, my answer to that would be that while our defense statistically wasn't bad last year, the addition of Martin and Zyb (I can't spell his **** name yet) IS going to bolster our defense in a category that can't really be shown on paper. Quality of shots allowed. Eaton and Gonch were soft defensively, and while they may have put up fairly decent numbers, I think that you will see the quality of shots that are being taken against MAF go down. More shots from outside the circles etc... (However against MAF, that might not be a good thing...He can stop the highlight goals...he has problems with the 50 foot wrister from the far boards haha) Martin and Zyb will force guys wide and into bad shooting lanes whereas Gonch just skated backwards until he fell into MAF.

    Is that what you thought I'd say? haha
    The only player in the NHL more overpaid than MAF is Jordan Staal

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    Default Re: Marc-Andre Fleury Will Be The Key For The Pens

    Quote Originally Posted by Evilpens View Post
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    Yeah & Orpik has a Ton of Hits & takes himself out of position all the ****IN time


    Martin & Michalek are positional D Men !!! In other words they don't run around to hit guys & take themselves out of position
    Orpik used to to take himself out of position. Not so much anymore. I'd take 6 Orpiks on defense any day, if I could.

    As far as positional play is concerned, guys like Eaton, McKee and Skoula fit that mold. Where does he get you? Nowhere.

    You need to have a guys like Orpik who has learned to hit people when the opportunity presents itself, and to stay in position when it's called for.

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    Default Re: Marc-Andre Fleury Will Be The Key For The Pens

    Good article...

    As everyone has already said, MAF needs to step it up this season... After the Cup win, last year was rather disappointing for me personally... Not only Fleury, but the entire team seemed to underachieve last season and never got rolling like I thought they would.

    Most of you know a helluva lot more about them than I do, but when there were long shots or breakaways, I was sweating big time... Fleury seemed to have more issues with them than the close-in contact drills.

    ... Either way, he needs to improve this season... And stop the rebound opportunities.
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    Default Re: Marc-Andre Fleury Will Be The Key For The Pens

    Nik Lidstrom !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I would Take 1 Nik over 6 Orpik's any Day of the week & twice on Sunday !! & he doesn't ring up a ton of hits
    Last edited by Evilpens; Sep-10-2010 at 03:08 PM.

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    Default Re: Marc-Andre Fleury Will Be The Key For The Pens

    Quote Originally Posted by BGK View Post
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    Haha, why? I like what you said. Which part do you think I will disagree with?

    I will say one thing...and there is no statistic that can show this (at least not one I know of...maybe the stats geeks out there will prove me wrong)...It sounds like you are saying we would be better off with Gonch and Eaton over Zyb and Martin??? Is that right? (I'm askin cause I'm not sure I read it right.)

    Anyway, my answer to that would be that while our defense statistically wasn't bad last year, the addition of Martin and Zyb (I can't spell his **** name yet) IS going to bolster our defense in a category that can't really be shown on paper. Quality of shots allowed. Eaton and Gonch were soft defensively, and while they may have put up fairly decent numbers, I think that you will see the quality of shots that are being taken against MAF go down. More shots from outside the circles etc... (However against MAF, that might not be a good thing...He can stop the highlight goals...he has problems with the 50 foot wrister from the far boards haha) Martin and Zyb will force guys wide and into bad shooting lanes whereas Gonch just skated backwards until he fell into MAF.

    Is that what you thought I'd say? haha
    Just call him by his Nickname Z

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    Default Re: Marc-Andre Fleury Will Be The Key For The Pens

    Quote Originally Posted by Crosby Clan View Post
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    [/HIGH-LIGHT]

    I didn't realize that - very disappointing to see those numbers. When Gogo has more hits than you that's not good. Hopefully they bring other skills to the table to make up for their lack of physicality.
    They're positionally sound like Evilpens said. I was just pointing out that if people think we upgraded the physical part of our defense they'll be sorely disappointed which doesnt bother me. I like to have some guys that can play physical but wouldn't want an entire defense of physical guys. Martin is a smart player, good 2 way guy whose offense might have been smothered some playing in the Devils trap system. What I know of Michalek is that he's Rob Scuderi like. not very good with the puck, but good positionally and will block a ton a bunch of shots
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    Default Re: Marc-Andre Fleury Will Be The Key For The Pens

    I expect a much better year stat wise, especially with Michalek on the team. Gonna write about that (improved defense) really soon Great piece Kip!

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    Default Re: Marc-Andre Fleury Will Be The Key For The Pens

    Quote Originally Posted by BGK View Post
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    Haha, why? I like what you said. Which part do you think I will disagree with?

    I will say one thing...and there is no statistic that can show this (at least not one I know of...maybe the stats geeks out there will prove me wrong)...It sounds like you are saying we would be better off with Gonch and Eaton over Zyb and Martin??? Is that right? (I'm askin cause I'm not sure I read it right.)

    Anyway, my answer to that would be that while our defense statistically wasn't bad last year, the addition of Martin and Zyb (I can't spell his **** name yet) IS going to bolster our defense in a category that can't really be shown on paper. Quality of shots allowed. Eaton and Gonch were soft defensively, and while they may have put up fairly decent numbers, I think that you will see the quality of shots that are being taken against MAF go down. More shots from outside the circles etc... (However against MAF, that might not be a good thing...He can stop the highlight goals...he has problems with the 50 foot wrister from the far boards haha) Martin and Zyb will force guys wide and into bad shooting lanes whereas Gonch just skated backwards until he fell into MAF.

    Is that what you thought I'd say? haha
    You let me down BGK... i put up an Article about MAF needing to step up and you didn't rag on MAF not once



    I hope by "soft defensively" you don't me in a physical sense because Martin and Michalek are soft type players as well

    I wasn't saying that Martin and Michalek are the equivalent of Eaton and Gonchar, just that if MAF doesn't improve his game and save percentage they won't be making a difference for what we're paying. Neither of them will replace Gonchar's offense but both are better defensively than Gonchar and Eaton.

    Quality of shots. I'll have to find it but there's a site that breaks down locations of shots and can't remember where it's at but before I blow my time looking I'll guarantee you a full bar tab that the Pens didn't let up any more quality shots than other teams. I'll bet the numbers are so few if you go by percentages (like X% of shots were considered scoring chances)...

    By default looking at the 08-09 Pens and the 09-10 Pens, there's a difference of 134 shots against. 134 less shots last year but the better save % in 08-09. There's no way possible that amount of "quality" shots increased enough to offset an additional 134 shots and skew a save percentage by a good 7% especially since the Penalty Kill was better last season as well.

    I always felt that injuries hurt us last year statistically and that some of our defensive numbers were that good despite at one time missing almost the entire defensive roster is pretty impressive.
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