Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Goalies Take Lockout Hit, Says Fleury

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Goalies Take Lockout Hit, Says Fleury

Article excerpt

Getting a new goaltending partner likely won't be the biggest relationship change Marc-Andre Fleury experiences this year.

That's because he took on a new roomie -- known in some quarters as a wife -- over the summer.

But if the NHL lockout ends and part of the 2012-13 season is salvaged, Fleury will find himself working alongside Tomas Vokoun, who received a two-year contract after his rights were acquired from Washington this spring and will replace Brent Johnson as the Penguins' No. 2 goalie.

Fleury, who made his first appearance at the Penguins' informal workouts Tuesday at Southpointe, said he does not know Vokoun well and that he "talked to him once or twice this summer."

Which is about how many times he chatted with Johnson every 15 minutes or so during their days together.

There's no reason to believe that Fleury and Vokoun won't get along and won't be able to form an effective partnership, but it also should not be assumed that they will bond the way Fleury and Johnson did.

"With [Johnson], it was easy, because I could always talk [to him]," Fleury said. "Like, between periods, walk in and go see him and ask him about 'this goal,' and whether I should do something different.

"He'd be honest with me. We'd talk, and try to help each other out."

Fleury -- perhaps, in part, because he's such a pleasant sort -- has meshed nicely with pretty much everyone with whom he has shared the position since he broke into the NHL just months after the Penguins invested the No. 1 choice in the 2003 NHL draft in him.

"I've been pretty lucky," he said. "There has always been an awesome goalie here, so it's been easy for me. I'm sure it'll be all right with Tomas, too."

Fleury spent the past few weeks playing in charity games former teammate Max Talbot organized around the province of Quebec, but acknowledged those didn't necessarily prepare him for an NHL season.

"There was no hitting, pretty much no slap shots," he said. "It was more of an all-star type of game. …

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