Penguins notebook: Fleury harbors Olympic hopes
By Josh Yohe
Published: Monday, Jan. 6, 2014, 9:51 p.m.
VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Marc-Andre Fleury wasn't invited to Canada's Olympic summer orientation, but he said he still dreams of hearing good news Tuesday morning.
The Canadian goaltending situation is murky, and Fleury has been stellar all season. He hasn't given up hope that his name will be called.
“It's been in the back of my mind,” Fleury acknowledged. “It's hard for it not to be. I don't know what's going to happen. I don't know what they're thinking.”
Fleury leads the NHL with 24 victories and is tied with Vancouver's Roberto Luongo for ninth with a 2.23 goals-against average. Luongo suffered a knee injury over the weekend, raising questions as to whether he will be available for the Olympics.
An MRI reportedly did not reveal any significant damage.
Goaltender Carey Price appears to be a lock to make Canada's roster. Other possibilities are Phoenix's Mike Smith and Chicago's Corey Crawford.
Luongo led Canada to the gold medal in 2010 despite looking shaky for much of the tournament. Like Fleury, he has been criticized for his ability to play well in crunch time.
Luongo has never won a Stanley Cup; he lost Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final in Vancouver against Boston in 2011. Fleury has won a championship and made two Stanley Cup Final appearances.
“I'd love to be on the team,” Fleury said. “I had such a great time in Vancouver (while serving as Canada's third goaltender in 2010). I have no idea what's going to happen.”
Sidney Crosby hasn't played on Vancouver ice since scoring the Golden Goal in the 2010 Olympics. The Penguins have played once in Vancouver since that day, and Crosby was out with a concussion.
He was bombarded by members of the Canadian media — two reporters got into a shoving match in front of his locker before he spoke, as positioning around hockey's biggest name was apparently crucial — following Thursday's practice at Rogers Arena.
When exiting the building, Crosby was asked by a Canadian camera crew to simply walk around the building so that they could film him in action. He obliged.
Forward Brian Gibbons has spent much of the 2013-14 season playing in Wilkes-Barre or on one of the Penguins' bottom two lines.
Starting on Sunday against Winnipeg, however, Gibbons found himself on a line with Crosby.
Intimidating? Only at first.
“I was only really nervous during warm-ups,” Gibbons said. “I know he has his routines. But he made it easy for me.”
Gibbons' philosophy is simple.
“I just want to get him the puck as much as possible,” Gibbons said. “The coaches want me to use my speed, so that's what I'm trying to do.”
The Penguins left Pittsburgh on Monday morning before practicing late in the afternoon in Vancouver. Because the team plane had to stop in Minnesota to refuel, it took the team more than six hours to reach British Columbia. Although the Penguins don't have a game until Friday after Tuesday's contest, the team will immediately depart for Alberta.
No new injuries
Every healthy player on the Penguins roster participated in Monday's short workout. The forward lines and defense pairings remained the same as in Sunday's game against Winnipeg.
Josh Yohe is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at email@example.com or via Twitter @JoshYohe_Trib.
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