Penguins fans have grown accustomed to seeing goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury
win his lion share of shootouts, as the Pittsburgh netminder has a 29-16 career record (.644 percent).
But what fans don’t get to see is the dramatic flare that Fleury will occasionally use during shootouts at team practice. It’s not always fun and games for Fleury, which is why he doesn’t do the moves that often. But occasionally to break the monotony and add some fun, he’ll bust out some clever tricks.
“I take it seriously. It’s the difference between one and two points in the game. I know that,” he said. “But at the same time we see the same guys almost everyday when we do a shootout. They know me. I know them. I think it’s good to have fun and switch it up and get some laughs.”
“He likes to have fun. He’s a crowd pleaser in practice,” forward Pascal Dupuis
joked. “He just has fun with it. We do it quite a bit. It probably gets boring when the guys come in with the same moves all the time. He tries to make it entertaining.”
|Fleury's new shootout move "The Gun" |
When he does put on a show, he has a few comical antics and creative moves up his sleeve that he’ll bust out as a shooter approaches (Once the shooter is within shooting distance, then he’ll settle into his typical stance to make a save).
Some patented moves for Fleury are the Spin-o-Rama, Jumping Jacks, Flipped Stick, and the Blind Man.
“Sometimes it’s spur of the moment. Sometimes it depends on which guy is coming down,” Fleury said of his selection process. “I like to switch it up so they don’t get used to it. Keep them on their toes a little bit.”
But the timeless classic is Pushups. Yes, the goalie does a few pushups before springing to his feet to make a save in the shootout.
“I like the Pushup one. The Pushup one is pretty good,” Dupuis said. “It’s pretty entertaining.”
“That’s always a tricky one for a player,” Fleury said. “They think they have me down, but they don’t.”
Fleury broke out a new move, and it will surely be a crowd pleaser. He flips his stick and pretends it’s a gun. It was a specialty invention for forward Steve MacIntyre
, an avid hunter.
“’Mac’ likes to go hunt and stuff so I used ‘The Gun,’” Fleury said. “But he got me though, it didn’t quite work out.”
But it isn’t just the visual that Fleury provides – he’s also quite vocal, adding another element of competition, humor and bragging rights to the shootout.
“I yell at them and they yell back,” Fleury said. “When they score they make sure I know. I can hear them celebrate to the bench. But it’s all in good terms.”
“The guys that have scored think it’s fun. The guys that don’t score get (angry) a little bit,” Dupuis said. “It’s something he does. It brings a little joy to practice.”
And maybe one day, he’ll bring that joy to a game?
“Maybe one day I’ll pull out The Gun,” Fleury said.
But then again…
“Mabye not, maybe not,” he added laughing.
So it looks like we’ll have to settle for seeing his antics at practice. And who knows what his next trick will be.
“I have to start thinking about it a bit,” he said. “The Gun was my new one. The Blind Man, too. Those are the newest additions. I have to do some research on that.”