Kukla's Korner

The Confluence

Category: Opinion

Fleury-Gate is the Talk of the Tahn in Pittsburgh

The controversy regarding the slump of Penguins’ franchise goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury is as widely-discussed as, well, the last time Fleury’s struggles were debated.

I love a good debate, whether it’s sports, politics or whether some fool will try to actually try to convince me that Sammy Hagar was better than David Lee Roth as Van Halen’s lead singer (puhleeze!).

But with all due respect, the excuses for Fleury’s poor start to the season are really piling up.

I wouldn’t be surprised if someone soon blames the ice girls.

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Struggles Continue for Penguins in Anaheim, Lose 3-2

Um, progress?  Moral victory?  Close but no cigar?

Whatever cliche’ you want to throw out there concerning the improved play of the Penguins last night in Anaheim, it’s still not translating to wins.

Despite two goals from Sidney Crosby, the Penguins allowed three goals in a seven-minute second period stretch due to some awfully porous defense that they never recovered from, losing to the Ducs 3-2.

Mark-Andre Fleury, who has been the usual scapegoat so far this season, took the loss again, giving up those three goals on only 19 shots.  In his defense though, the aforementioned blueliners did him no favors last night.

Other notes:

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Let’s Support One of the Great Hockey Blogs, Save Empty Netters!

Got some surprising, but not so surprising, news overnight as Pittsburgh blogging colleague Seth Rorabaugh of the Empty Netters blog of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette informed us via Twitter that the blog might be on its last legs after he meets with PG management Monday.  Seth didn’t get into too much detail as to why it might be shut down, but that’s besides the point now.

For those that don’t peruse Seth’s blog very often, if at all, don’t assume for a second that Empty Netters is strictly a Penguins-only blog.  Seth does outstanding synopsis’ of the previous night’s NHL action, as well as during the offseason.

In addition, on a personal note, Seth has helped out not only myself but just about all Penguins blogs on a regular basis by linking to our respective articles.  I consider him a friend, so let’s help him out.

The boys at Pensblog have a post that lists the names and email addresses of the Post-Gazette’s management.  Drop them a

respectful

note against the cancellation of Seth’s blog.  In addition, an online petition has been started also.

Thank you.

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Penguins Come Out Flat in Dallas, Johnny Comes Crashing to Earth

[ Pulling out the applicable cliche’ ]  Um.  It’s still early!

Kinda stumped where I should start.

Coming out flat as a board after three days off?  Having three Penguins fight and none of them named Godard, Rupp, Asham or Engelland?  Watching your extremely hot goaltender give up five goals?

What happened last night in Big D was what was we used to call in the Navy a Charlie Foxtrot, you can figure it out easy enough.

More notes:

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Johnny Stays En Fuego, Blanks Canes 3-0

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I’d love to know what Marc-Andre Fleury is thinking about nowadays.

Not only is his current play amongst the worst goaltenders in the NHL (his Save Pct. of .863 is only better than that of another Cup-winning goalie, Antti Niemi), he’s seeing his backup Brent Johnson start the season on some kind of roll.  For some reason I keep picturing Woody Harrelson in White Men Can’t Jump telling Wesley Snipes, “I’m in the f#@kin’ zone, man”.

Johnson is 5-0-1, with a 1.16 GAA and a .960 Save Pct. after a 33-save shutout performance in a 3-0 Penguins’ win in Raleigh against the Hurricanes.  So while we all wait for Fleury get over the funk he’s been in (truthfully since the middle of last season), the Penguins continue to take advantage of Johnson’s white-hot start.

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Penguins’ Lethargic Play Continues in Home Loss to Flyers, 3-2

Oh boy.

After a lackluster performance in Tampa Bay on Wednesday, one might attribute that to spending four days in Florida, if you’re so inclined.

Things looked back to normal in a fight-filled first period against the Flyers at the new barn last night, including a fantastic tic-tac-toe goal by Kris Letang.

Then somewhat inexplicably, the Penguins spent the right of the night trailing the Flyers as they dominated the play for the remainder of the game in a 3-2 loss.

Observations:

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Coasting Costs the Penguins, Downed 5-3 by Lightning

There’s never a shortage of “discussion”, shall we say, when the Penguins lose.

Not that my opinion means a hill of beans, I don’t have an issue at all with the Penguins when they lose in a well-played hockey game.

But that certainly wasn’t the case Wednesday night, as the Pens took a 3-1 first period lead, with two short-handed goals no less, then took the rest of the night off, allowing the Lightning to dominate the rest of the game and coming back to win 5-3.

Ugly performance, to say the least.  Other notes:

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“Johnny Deserved Better”, Pens Downed in OT

That was the Tweet sent from Penguins’ Director of Media Technology Chris Devivo moments after the Blues took advantage of a turnover from Pens’ D-man Paul Martin behind their net, leading to Erik Johnson’s one-timer past goalie Brent Johnson for a dramatic 1-0 overtime victory.

Tough to lose a game like that if you’re Brent Johnson, but you have to tap your stick to sudden Penguin nemesis Jaroslav Halak.  After the Pens nearly posted a goose-egg in shots in the first period, they unloaded a 19-shot barrage in the second, only to be stopped on all of them by Halak.  Combine that with an impressive defensive performance by the Blues and it results in a frustrating loss for the Pens, albeit still earning a point.

Johnny deserved better, indeed Chris.  Some other notes:

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Fleury Gets Off the Schnide

Be honest, how many of you did the facepalm when the Predators scored against Marc-Andre Fleury only 53 seconds into the game?

Yeah, maybe for a few seconds.  But it was pretty clear after the replays his defense hung him out to dry for that goal.  But give Fleury some credit, the other goals he gave up were either deflected (2nd Nashville goal) or simply a great shot (3rd Nashville goal - off two posts).  Whatever critique you’d like to give him, he got his first win of the season last night in Nashville after Kris Letang’s OT winner, 4-3.

Great hockey game, love the way Nashville plays.  Some other notes:

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Back in the Saddle:  Anything Going On?

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Back home after a business trip to San Diego.  Lousy weather, relatively speaking, for San Diego.  Was looking forward to meeting The Chief, but unfortunately work schedules got in the way.  Best part of the trip?  That’s an easy one: The fantastic Italian food at Filippi’s Pizza Grotto in the Little Italy section of town.  Highly recommended to anyone traveling there.

Anyway, you’ll have to excuse me for a while, it takes me a bit to get back into the swing of things after I’ve temporarily stopped blogging, but some thoughts:

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About The Confluence

Welcome to The Confluence, a Pittsburgh Penguins blog since 2006.

Originally at Blogspot, then at MVN, TheConfluence has over 1500 articles reporting Penguins news as well as jumping on my soapbox to opine constructive Penguins criticism.

I am blogger- credentialed with the Pittsburgh Penguins.  My posts are regularly linked by hockey websites such as the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pittsburgh Tribune Review, Yahoo!‘s Puck Daddy, and I’ve done numerous guest blogger spots on such websites asthe New YorkTimes.  I am a retired U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer.

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