Pens' Fleury, Bales form winning combination
MONTREAL — If the Penguins celebrate a championship in June, one relationship will have played a large part.
Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury and goaltending coach Mike Bales didn't know each other when the Penguins hired Bales this summer. But the result has been some of the finest, steadiest play of Fleury's career.
“Marc-Andre had only one voice and one goalie coach (Gilles Meloche) for a long time,” Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said. “That relationship with Mike is still building. It's built on a foundation of trust.”
Fleury said he feels comfortable with Bales, who played more than a decade in North America and overseas.
“It's been really good,” Fleury said. “We've gotten to know each other a little bit.”
There is nothing revolutionary about Bales' teaching methods. He has not, however, orchestrated sweeping changes to Fleury's game. In fact, he doesn't tell Fleury to do anything.
Instead, he makes occasional suggestions.
“It's never me saying, ‘Hey, you've to do this,' ” Bales said. “And it's never him saying, ‘I have to do this.' It's more like, ‘Hey, let's go work on some things.' ”
Fleury has started — and finished — 20 games this season and has allowed more than three goals in a game only twice.
Considering the Penguins' offense has stalled recently, his performance has been necessary to keep the team atop the Metropolitan Division.
“He's just been so good,” center Brandon Sutter said. “He's keeping us in every game.”
Bales faced a seemingly daunting task when he joined the Penguins.
Fleury, 28, appeared to be broken last spring despite being a Stanley Cup champion and a two-time Cup finalist.
Bylsma pulled him in favor of Tomas Vokoun following Game 4 of the opening playoff round against the New York Islanders. Fleury played only once more, a cameo that did not go well during Game 2 of the Eastern Conference final against the Boston Bruins.
Bales, however, discovered Fleury wasn't broken.
“I knew he was very talented,” Bales said. “The only thing that has surprised me a little bit is just how physically talented he is. I didn't realize how gifted he is. With Marc, he can pick up new things and immediately make the adjustment into his game.”
Fleury gets to play in Boston on Monday. When the Penguins last played at TD Garden, Vokoun was in net. Now it's Fleury's show.
Josh Yohe is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at email@example.com or via Twitter @JoshYohe_Trib.
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.
- Wings coach Babcock does not hide affection for Penguins’ Crosby
- Penguins notebook: Crosby practices for 1st time since opening of camp
- Penguins blanked at Columbus, 2-0
- Penguins boast several good blueliners with point-producing skills
- Red Wings beat Penguins, 2-1, in preseason opener
- Penguins notebook: Crosby gets early work
- Penguins notebook: Carcillo hopes to give team physical edge
- Rossi: At start, are Pens already finished?
- Penguins notebook: Martin not concerned about expiring contract
- Penguins notebook: Crosby sits, could be out ‘couple days’
- Crosby, Malkin to miss start of Penguins camp