Born November 28, 1984 (age 26) in Sorel, Quebec, Canada
Goaltender for the Pittsburgh Penguins
Everyone loves a Flower! Especially this one. Fleury started his very notable career playing for one of my favorite teams in terms of name awesomeness, the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles. With the Screaming Eagles, he did so well that he was drafted first overall in 2003, becoming the third goalie ever to be drafted right at the top (along with Rick DiPietro and Michel Plasse). He went right into the bigs at the age of 18, the youngest goalie in the league at that time. He got his first win and shutout in his debut month, October 2003, and did pretty well at first, though his performance suffered a bit behind poor defense. Speaking of poor, after a showing at the 2004 Worlds, Fleury returned to learn he was going back to Cape Breton for a while. Supposedly this is because Pittsburgh, in the throes of financial difficulty at the time (remember, this is before Lemieux saved the team), couldn’t afford to pay his contract bonus. Fleury offered to forfeit the bonus, but that didn’t work. The next year was the Year That Never Was, so he played with the Baby Pens, then hopped between the Baby and the Big Pens, gradually increasing from somewhat poor play to getting better and better especially after the Pens’ big stars joined the team.
Advice Goalie time, though: when attempting to stop a puck, don’t sit on it, put your lobster claw on it instead. Fleury tried the sit strategy and ended up letting in the Stanley Cup winning goal in 2008. He more than redeemed himself the next year, though, when the Penguins won the Cup.
Some fun Flower facts before we get on to his performance last season: he has a younger sister Marylene, he too lived with Mario Lemieux for a while as he looked for a place, he still got a gold medal in the 2010 Olympics even though he didn’t play because Martin Brodeur and Roberto Luongo did all the goaltending, his masks always feature a fleur-de-lys on the backplate and often have other floral imagery as well, plus he has a penchant for chirping the heck out of his teammates during practices. What a funny flower. Anyway, this season he played 65 games, getting a 36-20-5 record with 3 shutouts, a 2.32 GAA and .918 save percentage during the regulars. During the playoffs, he played 7 games, getting a 3-4 record with a shutout, a 2.52 GAA and .899 save percentage. I know for sure that we look forward to more of Flower’s antics and performance next season!