Saturday, May 4, 2013

Fleury craps bed; also craps pucks into his own net. Again. Pens Lose, 4-3

By Finesse (follow me on Twitter)

The notion that Marc-Andre Fleury kept the Pens in the game during a first period that was lopsided in favor of the Islanders in everything but the score is true.  But it's also irrelevant.  If you go 40 years without beating your wife then tag her with a right cross, you're still a wife-beater.  You don't get to say, "well, I was really nice to her those first 40 years."

Great guy, though, right?
How many playoff games do the Penguins have to lose because Fleury is incapable of tracking the puck once it goes behind the net?  How many stunningly deflating goals does he have to give up score on himself?  We'll get to the overall bad play of the team later today but Fleury has played himself into a place where a bad 1st period on Sunday -- heck, even just a bad goal -- should lead to Bylsma taking the keys away.  And maybe for good.

We're probably over-reacting to what is just one loss in a series the Pens should still win.  But to offer Fleury the refuge of any excuse is to willfully ignore what's been happening right in front of our eyes, and has been for some time.
No one can ever take his Cup away, but whatever capital he built up from that win has been spent long ago, the Chinese are tired of lending him money, and now he's responding to emails from Nigerian princes.  At this point, his ring is relevant only to his historical legacy; as to the length of his leash in Game 3, it's a non-factor, and if you're mentioning it as a credential at this point, you might as well remember O.J. for his Heisman Trophy.

But what about that shutout in Game 1?

What about it?  Does not giving up a goal in one game give you license to let up 3 (arguably 4) bad ones in the next game?  When Mitch Williams gave up the World Series walk-off homer to Joe Carter, did anyone care that it was the first time Williams had ever given up a hit to Carter?  Fleury is the goalie; he's supposed to stop pucks whether the team is playing well or, as they were last night, playing like shit.  Where is the rule that you can only evaluate a goalie when the team in front of him is playing well?

(If these thoughts sound familiar, it's because we had a similar debate this February with Brandy, one of our best and most dedicated commenters).

If it wasn't so depressing, it might be a fun exercise to create a coding system for the goals that have been scored against Fleury.  The first category would be: "Was it an actual shot on goal?"  Other categories would include, "Did it start from behind the net or along the goal line?"  Wait.  That's all the categories.

We all know that there were a lot of Penguins who didn't do their jobs last night.  But there's one guy who matters more than others.  And he let in at least three deflating, garbage goals.  Again.

We'll be back to discuss the rest of the team later today.

1 comment:

  1. While I agree that Fleury should be on an extremely short leash, I don't see how Engelland can play over Despres tomorrow. Engelland and Murray both looked extremely slow yesterday (and both ~12 minutes TOI) and weren't doing us any favors when trying to break up the Isles forecheck. Now, obviously Murray won't be scratched, but they absolutely need to get faster across the line-up. Now, Despres wasn't exactly a world-beater down the stretch of the regular season, but he would be an upgrade in this matchup.

    As for the forwards, I found it mind-boggling that Bennett only played 7:19. It's not like it was one of those games where they're losing the whole time so all the top-6 forwards play 19+ minutes. They absolutely need to spread the minutes around...Glass only played for 4:55 and only 56 seconds of that was shorthanded. I think TK needs to go in over Glass if that's the case, because the only argument for keeping Glass in the lineup is on the PK.

    Anyway, nothing like one playoff loss to question every decision the team makes...