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Shero: Penguins won't trade Fleury

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Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
The Bruins' Gregory Campbell celebrates Johnny Boychuk's goal next to Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury during the third period Monday, June 3, 2013, at Consol Energy Center.

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

By Josh Yohe
Wednesday, June 12, 2013, 7:42 p.m.
 

Marc-Andre Fleury isn't going anywhere.

Penguins general manager Ray Shero voiced support for the goaltender Wednesday at Consol Energy Center and did so in passionate fashion. Shero made it clear that Fleury, 28, will remain the team's No. 1 goaltender next season despite four consecutive disappointing postseasons.

“I'm not getting rid of Marc-Andre Fleury,” Shero said.

Fleury has two years remaining on his contract and will cost the Penguins $5 million annually against the salary cap.

Although Shero's praise for goaltender Tomas Vokoun was noteworthy, his belief in Fleury seemingly never was more vivid.

“It's difficult to replace 40 wins a year,” Shero said. “I can't replace that. I don't believe I can go out and get someone like that.”

Fleury's regular-season performances never have been an issue.

Minus his runs to the 2008 and '09 Stanley Cup Finals, Fleury seldom has thrived in the playoffs.

He has produced sub-.900 save percentages in each of his other five playoffs, including this past postseason in which he was lifted following Game 4 in a first-round series against the New York Islanders. Fleury hasn't been responsible for a postseason series victory since 2010.

“We talked about the playoffs,” said Shero, who met with Fleury for 30 minutes Tuesday. “This certainly is an area where he needs improvement on. Concentration and belief. Get back to where he was in 2008 and 2009. I believe he can do that.”

The Penguins believe Fleury's postseason struggles are mental, not physical.

“It's been tough, really tough,” Shero said. “I had that conversation with him, some of the things I expect him to really do this summer, which I believe for the first time he's really ready to embrace and improve. With Marc, it's about focus and concentration sometimes.”

Shero refused to elaborate on areas he wants Fleury to improve, calling it “personal.”

Shero confirmed that goaltender coach Gilles Meloche resigned, though he will remain in the organization as a scout. A new goaltender coach, along with Shero and coach Dan Bylsma, will work to help Fleury improve. Fleury will have no say in who gets the job.

Shero mentioned other players the Penguins have managed to revamp.

“Look at James Neal, working with him,” said Shero, referring to the forward's forgettable first season with the Penguins in which he scored twice in 27 games. Neal scored 40 goals the following season.

“Paul Martin, working with him,” Shero said. “Matt Cooke. You try to work with people and make them better. It's no different with Marc-Andre. Great kid. Great competitor.”

There is no question Fleury wants to stay, his agent said Wednesday.

“Marc-Andre Fleury is a Pittsburgh Penguin,” Allan Walsh said. “He loves the club, the city, his teammates and the fans. He does not want to be anywhere else.”

“I have belief in Marc-Andre,” Shero said. “The faith I have in Marc-Andre has not waned, nor has it from (Bylsma).”

Josh Yohe is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at jyohe@tribweb.com or via Twitter @JoshYohe_Trib.

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