On June 21st, at approximately 10:00PM, we started crying. The Penguins said farewell to their longest tenured player, Marc-Andre Fleury, who after 14 seasons with the Penguins organization was selected by the new expansion team, the Vegas Golden Knights. It's now June 23rd and we're still crying.
Let's flashback to June 21, 2003 when Marc-Andre Fleury was drafted 1st overall by the Pittsburgh Penguins in a draft-day trade with the Florida Panthers. The Panthers traded their first pick and their 73rd pick to the Penguins for the Penguin's 3rd pick, 55th pick, and Mikael Samuelsson.
Being the longest tenured Penguin, Fleury has seen the ups and downs of the Penguins franchise, well at least the last 14 years worth. He's seen the 'X Generation', he's seen threats of relocation, and most importantly, he's been a vital part of three Stanley Cups. The Penguins would not be where they are today without him.
Let's go back in time and remember some of Marc-Andre Fleury's past teammates: Mark Recchi, Ziggy Palffy, Mario Lemieux, Konstantin Koltsov, Eric Tangradi, Bill Guerin, Taylor Pyatt, Josef Melichar, Tomas Surovy, Marty Straka, and Sidney Crosby, just to name several at random. It seems like just yesterday the Penguins were hot garbage on their way to another losing season with no hope in sight. Feel old yet?
2005-2006 Penguins team photo - those yellow pads were beautiful
Nowadays in sports it's rare to find an athlete you can truly look up to, which is fine, and personally I don't think athletes should be viewed as role models necessarily anyway, but that's a conversation for another day. But, I can say 100%, without a doubt, Marc-Andre Fleury is a role model for any adult, let alone every kid. Fleury was not only a phenomenal goaltender, who holds almost every franchise goaltending record, but he was an outstanding person off the ice as well. In his final act as a Penguin player, Fleury donated a playground to the Sto-Ken-Rox Boys and Girls Club in McKees Rocks. This playground included sports equipment, games, a dek hockey rink named Rink 29 (my dad actually designed the logo for the project), and electronics. According to Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Fleury's second day in Vegas consisted of him doing a street hockey clinic with kids in the afternoon... his second day!
(Photo via CBS Local)
Here's a short list of those franchise record-setting stats Marc-Andre Fleury has compiled through his 14 years with the Penguins.
- Wins 375
- For his career, Fleury is 375-216-68
- Games Played - 691
- Shutouts in a season - 10
- Save Percentage - .912%
- Goals Against Average - 2.58
- Career Shutouts - 44
- Longest tenured goaltender in team history - 14 seasons - 13 years
- Best shootout save percentage in NHL history - .740 (since the shootout came into existence)
-115 playoff starts, 62 wins
- 3 Stanley Cups
It's difficult to put into words how much Marc-Andre Fleury has meant to the Penguins, and more importantly, to the city of Pittsburgh. And no, he didn't die but in a way, Fleury's departure does bring an end to an era. Fleury was the last of the 'X-Generation' to leave the team. I have seen many ups and downs with this franchise over the years since those X teams, from defenseman Dick Tarnstrom leading the team in points with 52 during the 2003-04 season to Carl Hagelin putting in the empty netter just two weeks ago to help the Penguins clinch their fifth Stanley Cup. It's been a magical ride and I truly believe that without Marc-Andre Fleury the Penguins don't win the Cup in either of the last two years, let alone back in 2009.
One thing is for sure, on February 6, 2018 when Marc-Andre Fleury and the Vegas Golden Knights come to town we are going to be there. When they show that tribute video of Fleury during the first television timeout, there won't be a dry eye in the house. For a moment, it'll feel as if he never left. I guess all I'm trying to say with this post is, thank you, Marc-Andre Fleury!
Photo via Penn Live
(Video via the Penguins)
Old Posts from our site, heyyyyyfannnssss (4/11-2/15). Cute name, but impossible to remember.