Penguins' Fleury out of Canada's Olympic plans
Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin will be two of the most visible athletes when the Winter Olympics begin February in Sochi, Russia.
Their goaltender can't say the same.
Marc-Andre Fleury, once considered among the favorites to play between the pipes as Canada attempts to win a second straight gold medal, wasn't even one of the five goaltenders invited to Team Canada's orientation camp.
Instead, Canada invited Phoenix's Mike Smith, Montreal's Carey Price, Vancouver's Roberto Luongo, Washington's Braden Holtby and Chicago's Corey Crawford. Among that group, only Luongo has played in the Olympics, and his stock has dropped continually since backstopping Canada's gold medal in 2010. Fleury was the third goaltender on Canada's 2010 gold-medal team and as recently as last spring was considered a lock to make the Canadian squad, if not be its starter.
However, another postseason meltdown apparently has soured Canada on the 28-year-old Fleury.
After leading the Penguins to consecutive Stanley Cup Final appearances — and winning the championship in 2009 — Fleury has produced save percentages under .900 in each of his subsequent four postseason appearances.
He hit rock bottom in Game 4 of the first round of the 2013 playoffs against the New York Islanders, allowing six goals in the 6-4 loss, which compelled coach Dan Bylsma to go to Tomas Vokoun.
Fleury played once more that spring, allowing a goal on the first shot he faced in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference final against Boston.
Crosby, meanwhile, is delighted to have another opportunity at Olympic glory. He scored the game-winning goal in overtime of the 2010 gold-medal game to give Canada its second gold medal in the past three Olympics.
“It's obviously a very exciting thing to be a part of,” Crosby said. “I'm really looking forward to it. It's something Canada takes very seriously.”
Crosby doesn't figure to be alone in Russia, and he definitely won't be alone when Team Canada meets for its orientation camp. Three other Penguins were invited: forwards James Neal and Chris Kunitz and defenseman Kris Letang.
Neal is a former 40-goal scorer, Letang is a virtual lock after being nominated for the Norris Trophy this season, and Kunitz is Crosby's preferred left wing, which could compel Canada coach Mike Babcock to seriously consider him.
Team USA's orientation camp also will feature a number of Penguins.
Defensemen Paul Martin and Brooks Orpik are considered strong candidates to make the team and, given that they play together and that chemistry is difficult to generate in such a short tournament, could be paired.
Forward Beau Bennett, who just completed his rookie season, also was invited to the orientation camp.
Malkin will attend Russia's orientation camp, and Penguins forward Jussi Jokinen has been invited to Finland's camp.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Penguins minor league notebook: Pouliot impresses early in season
- Mears savors success, credits legendary Lange for guidance, inspiration
- Penguins notebook: Penguins getting fewer power-play opportunities
- Islanders outwork Penguins to sweep back-to-back meetings
- New assistant Agnew has Pens’ PK, defense among league’s best
- Penguins fans from England, Spain journey across pond to Pittsburgh
- Fleury denied 300th win as Penguins lose to Islanders in shootout
- Penguins notebook: Dupuis’ absence will alter roles on penalty kill
- Rossi: For Penguins’ Dupuis, family must come first
- Penguins notebook: Dupuis to miss Penguins game in Montreal
- Penguins defenseman Maatta makes his return in win over Canadiens