(Photo Credit: NHL.com)
Throughout the years, the Tomahawks have been fortunate to have great goaltending. Recently, Drew Hotte and Vinnie Purpura have help lead Johnstown into bigger and better things in 2016-17.
It is often said you can’t have a great team with a great goalie. That sentiment is shared with our Pittsburgh Penguins.
We would be remiss if we didn’t acknowledge the career of one Marc-Andre Fleury, whose career with the back-to-back Stanley Cup champion Penguins.
Marc-Andre “Flower” Fleury’s time with the Pittsburgh Penguins has ended after a phenomenal 14 seasons. Fleury was selected by the Vegas Golden Knights during the expansion draft. While most people saw this coming when Fleury waived the no-movement clause in his contract, it still has a large majority of Penguins fans getting a little teary-eyed.
During his time with the Penguins, Fleury became a fan favorite. He has had a whirlwind career as a Penguin, and while fans are excited that he has been given this opportunity, it is definitely bittersweet.
Fleury got his start when he was drafted in the 2003 NHL Draft. Pittsburgh selected him as the No. 1 pick. He joined two other goalies, but that did not prevent him from becoming a star player.
On Oct. 10, 2003, at the young age of 18, Fleury made his NHL debut. During that game, Fleury had 46 saves against the Los Angeles Kings. Although that game ended with a 3-0 loss, he got his first career win a few days later on Oct. 18. Then, on Oct. 30, against the Chicago Blackhawks, he had his first career shut-out with a 1-0 victory. All of these successes earned Fleury Rookie of the Month honors for October.
A few years later, during the 2005-06 season, Fleury became the Penguins starting goaltender. With Fleury in goal, Pittsburgh went to the Stanley Cup playoffs the following season. Then, in the 2007-08 season, the Penguins found themselves in the Stanley Cup Finals. Although they ultimately lost the cup in game six, Fleury held his own. With a 1.97 goals-against average, three shut-outs, and .933 save percentage in the 20 playoff games before, Fleury showed that he was a force to be reckoned with.
From there, he progressed into the important piece for the Penguins eventual Stanley Cup win.
Fleury won the Stanley Cup three times during his time in Pittsburgh. The first was during the 2008-09 season against the Detroit Red Wings, who were going for their second consecutive win. Just last year, during the 2015-16 season, the Penguins won the Stanley Cup for the second time with Fleury as goaltender. And, as everyone already knows, Pittsburgh won the cup for the second year in a row just a few weeks ago.
It’s very clear that Fleury has been a powerhouse during his time with the Penguins. He had a long, life-changing run with his teammates and fans. Fleury will always be remembered in Pittsburgh and will forever be one of Penguins. Although this is goodbye for “Flower,” it is important to remember that this is not the end. This is a new beginning and we are all excited to see where this new journey will take him.