took to the ice Sunday at the Iceoplex at Southpointe as a skater, not a goalie – and he looked awfully good doing it.
Fleury, who wore a Penguins warmup suit, helmet, skates and gloves, scored two goals and two assists while playing every position but his natural one – center, wing and defense. The 26-year-old netminder skated quickly and fluidly despite wearing his goalie skates, which are much harder to move in than regular boots.
“I love it,” Fleury said of skating out. “Any time I can, I try to. It was fun.”
In fact, Fleury – who prefers to play forward over defense because he gets to “try to score instead of getting scored on” – may have to give teammates Sidney Crosby
and Evgeni Malkin
some tips on taking faceoffs.
“I think my winning percentage was pretty good, so maybe I should let them in on my strategy,” Fleury joked.
Fleury came to Pittsburgh for the prize session of a contest, which was an on-ice practice with the affable netminder.
The contest was held last season through the Iceoplex’s Adult Hockey League, which consisted of about 25 teams. The rink calculated the goals-against average for each of those teams over a three-consecutive game span, and the top eight clubs with the lowest numbers were then entered into a drawing.
The two winning squads – Ko Sports and Miner Racing Team – got to scrimmage with the Penguins netminder for about an hour, with Fleury alternating between the squads.
“I was really excited about it,” said Kelly Comeau, the goalie for Ko Sports. “We’d been talking about it for a long time. Fleury is a great guy, real personable. He was nice. To be willing to come out here and play hockey with us for an hour, it was really nice. We’re real appreciative.”
The players were impressed by Fleury’s skills, as the Penguins goalie’s goals came on a beautiful one-timer and a nifty tip-in
“He was a great skater, even with goalie skates on,” said Brett Harsh, Ko Sports captain. “He had a heck of a great shot. I think he scored three goals on us.”
Comeau called it “a little humbling, but a little satisfying at the same time” to be scored on by Fleury.
“He did a great job out there,” Comeau said.
It was Fleury’s first time on the ice this summer, as the netminder has been training hard in the gym with renowed Canadian posturologist and exercise physiologist Paul Gagne.
Lacing up the skates for the first time in a while paired with being in Pittsburgh has Fleury starting to get excited for the upcoming season.
“Just to be back is great,” he said. “I went to CONSOL before I came here. It’s nice to be back in the room, even though there’s nobody around. But still, I’m looking forward to getting started.”Photos from the session: