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Penguins' Fleury Enjoys Offseason Adventures

by Michelle Crechiolo / Pittsburgh Penguins

While most people vacation to the beach or countryside, Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury went on an African safari.

“It was awesome,” he said. “I love to see different stuff and travel a little bit, so it was great. (The safari) was the most fun. It was amazing.”

Fleury, a Sorel, Quebec native that enjoys visiting places he’s never been before during the offseason, was even a witness to two lions eating a hippo.

“That was pretty crazy,” Fleury said, his eyes growing wide. “We were up close, too.”

In addition to his African vacation, Fleury’s summer has included a trip to France to visit family and playing in a softball league with friends.

“That’s kind of different,” Fleury admitted, who hasn’t blasted a ball over the fence but did use his quickness to earn himself an inside-the-park homerun. “It’s fun though. I play first base.”

But while Fleury has found a myriad of ways to enjoy himself after a rigorous season, his summer certainly hasn’t been all recreation.

Despite putting together a Hart Trophy-caliber campaign last season, the 2010-11 Team MVP isn’t close to being satisfied.

“Everything,” Fleury said of what he’s focusing on in his workouts. “Trying to get better, faster. I think trying to be consistent throughout the season. That’s a big part of success throughout the season. Always the little things, like rebounds and making the plays around the net. I still have a lot to work on.”

He is currently training off the ice with Paul Gagne, a posturologist, exercise kinesiologist and strength and conditioning consultant based out of Montreal. Fleury, 26, has been working with Gagne since he was about 16 years old.

“I trust my trainer,” Fleury said. “Pretty much whatever he tells me to do, I will.”

What Fleury likes the most about Gagne’s workouts is that they’re constantly changing, which keeps him out of the fitness doldrums.

“My trainer is good,” Fleury said. “He always switches it up on us. A lot of things have to do with circuits, mostly. We train outside, too. Next week I’m going to start skating, so that should be interesting.”

Fleury isn’t the only NHL star that works with Gagne. Pierre-Marc Bouchard (Minnesota), Derick Brassard (Columbus), Martin Havlat (San Jose) and Michael Frolik (Chicago) all train there – as do a few familiar faces to Penguins fans.

“Zbynek (Michalek) comes down once in a while,” Fleury said with a smile. “Him and his brother Milan (Ottawa). (Ruslan Fedotenko) will be coming down too, so that will be nice.”

In addition to Michalek, Fleury has also seen teammates Kris Letang and Pascal Dupuis – and is looking forward to receiving a visit from Sidney Crosby this week.

“Sid’s coming down to Montreal this week, so I’ll get to see him in a little bit,” Fleury said.

Speaking of teammates, Fleury has been keeping a close eye on the offseason movement going in and out of Pittsburgh. One departure that especially affected Fleury was Max Talbot, as the two are close friends and were road roommates the past few years.

“He was definitely upset to be leaving, I was too,” Fleury said. “We all get along very well and we’ve been through many years together. It’s been a little tough to see good friends leave, definitely. But it’s part of the game now.”

While Fleury will miss his former teammates, he’s excited about the team that general manager Ray Shero has been busy piecing together over these hot summer months – and can’t wait to get the season started.

Steve Sullivan will be a good addition,” Fleury said. “He will have a good year with (Evgeni Malkin and Crosby).

“I’m looking forward to getting (the season) started. Hopefully we can get to the Cup again.”

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