It's time to find out what Fleury is made of
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Here's a little food for thought to help you kick off the weekend:
• Marc Andre Fleury's career resume reminds one of the Thunderbolt roller coaster at Kennywood Park. It has had its share of ups and downs.
The Penguins' goalie has a Stanley Cup title on his resume and has had some excellent years. He also has an absolute collapse in the Stanley Cup playoffs that saw him get benched.
Tonight we should find out about Fleury's makeup after what happened in Game 4 against Columbus.
In that game, he played extremely well for all but the last 30 seconds of regulation, and obviously he was bothered by the late goal in overtime as well.
If Fleury truly has what it takes to be outstanding in the clutch at this stage of his career, it will show tonight.
If his psyche is as fragile as critics claim, then that will show.
Regardless, it is time for him to put up or step aside.
• On the subject of players who need to step up, put Sidney Crosby in that category. I have long believed he is the game's best player. However, I'm starting to wonder if he is just the game's best regular season player.
Nine games without a goal is a long time for someone who means so much to a team.
I know most Pens fans may find it sacrilegious to question the team's captain, but isn't it often said that when the going gets tough, the tough get going?
I'm waiting for Crosby to “get going.”
• I can understand the WPIAL wanting Belle Vernon Area baseball coach Daryl Hixenbaugh to attend a hearing because of his comments critical of umpires after a recent game only because the program is already on probation.
However, I find it interesting for WPIAL Executive Director Tim O'Malley to say that his remarks went past what is acceptable for coaches to say to the media about officials.
I have covered sports for nearly 35 years and in basketball land football, and I have heard far worse comments about officials from angry coaches after a game. And I have heard those comments fairly frequently.
I've had coaches tell me some pretty harsh things often followed by, “And you can print that.”
And I have.
• I don't say this very often, but if I had one high school baseball player today who I would want at the plate in a key situation or one player who I would want the ball hit to if I needed an out in the worst way, it would be Monessen's Josh Kucmeroski.
The kid can flat out play the game and he's only a junior.
That said, as a team, I still love the way they play baseball at California.
The transition from coaches Don Hartman to Nick Damico has been smooth. The Trojans are still the class of the Mid Mon Valley and could probably hold their own in any classification.
• When you have two competitive teams going at it, there is nothing like a good high school baseball game.
The sad problem is it is sometimes tough to find two competitive teams to go see.
• I know it's only late April, but ...
The Pirates do not have the look of a .500 team, let alone one that excited the baseball world a year ago.
Let's hope things turn around quickly.
But I do have my doubts. There is just not enough hitting and when the pitching isn't spot on, well ...
• Whatever happened to Kevin Pergola?
• Look-A-Like Department: Monessen soccer/basketball player Noah Yartin and Blake Griffin.
• So people in State College really want to put up a statue of Joe Paterno now? Really?
Wow. Just ... wow.
Jeff Oliver is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2666 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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