Marc-Andre Fleury wasn’t invited to Team Canada’s camp this summer, and don’t think for a second that he didn’t take notice. After being one of the three goalies on the 2010 roster that took home the Gold Medal, Fleury’s recent track record in big-time games had seemingly cost him his invite.
Since 2010, the Pittsburgh Penguins have had trouble making it to the Stanley Cup Final. They made it to the Eastern Conference Final against the Boston Bruins in 2013, but that had nothing to do with Fleury. He’d been benched in favor of Tomas Vokoun in the opening round against the New York Islanders and the Pens didn’t check back to him.
Getting demoted during a playoff run for which your team clearly loaded up for at the trade deadline isn’t a good resume builder. Following the wheels falling off of Fleury’s game in a loud and very public manner, Canada probably didn’t see any real reason to give him an invite to camp. It’d be tough to fault them for that.
Yet no one has run away with the job yet in the early stages of the season. Roberto Luongo has looked good, but does he have a better track record in big games than Fleury? Not really.
Pittsburgh returned him to the No. 1 role to start the season, and he’s been a rock for the Penguins. He’s first in the NHL in wins with 10, possesses the fifth-lowest GAA with a 1.83, and an outstanding .929 save percentage to boot. If those gaudy numbers don’t get Canada’s attention then nothing will.
It isn’t like the Pens have just been handing him easy victories either. He’s 14th in the NHL in shots against, and Pittsburgh has been totally incapable of maintaining a healthy defense core this year. The top-six has been healthy at the same time and out on the ice together for all of four periods, and that won’t change any time soon with the injury to Rob Scuderi.
At this point, the race to tend Canada’s net seems wide open, and Fleury has as good a chance as anyone to wear the Maple Leaf as the starter in Sochi.