by Patrick Hoffman on 06/05/09 at 02:17 PM ET
When Marc-Andre Fleury first started his career with the Pittsburgh Penguins back in the fall of 2003, goals were going in left and right. He wasn’t to blame as the team in front of him wasn’t nearly as experienced as it is now but during the first three to three-and-a-half seasons, Fleury experienced many growing pains as an NHL netminder.
No one doubted his talent and no one doubted that he could play professional hockey. What hockey pundits and fans did doubt was his maturity. When Fleury first came into the NHL, he was only 18 years old and as the No.1 pick of the NHL Draft, was expected to be a saving grace for a falling Penguins hockey club. Instead, he was a goalie that struggled to control his rebounds and keep the puck out of the net, leading many to question why the Penguins drafted him and threw him into the fire at such a young age.
Four or so seasons later, the man they call “Flower” has appeared in two Stanley Cup Finals and has shown the team, its fans and the league how good he can be. He now makes the big saves when called upon and he doesn’t get too down after allowing a goal. More importantly, Fleury has provided the Penguins with a steady presence between the pipes and looks like he will be “the man” for years to come in Pittsburgh.
What do you folks think of Fleury? Do you think he still has a lot to prove? Do you think he is overrated? Do you think we have yet to see the best from “Flower”? Let’s hear your thoughts!
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Patrick has a tremendous passion for hockey. Besides covering the Rangers and the NHL for Kukla's Korner, you can also find Patrick's work over at Sportsnet.ca, The Red Light District Hockey Blog, NHL Home Ice, and Liam Maguire's Ultimate Hockey web site.
Prior to writing for the above mentioned outlets, you could find Patrick's musings at hockey web sites/outlets such as TheHockeyNews.com, TheFourthPeriod.com, Spector's Hockey, Hokeja Vestnesis, Blueshirt Bulletin, SNYRangersBlog.com and many more.
For questions, comments and hip checks, feel free to e-mail Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org.