No matter the role, Fleury's happy

Goalie is headed to his first Olympics

By IAN BUSBY, QMI AGENCY

In a month, Marc-Andre Fleury will get another Team Canada uniform, this time for the Olympics.

Whether he gets to suit up in a live game with it on is another question.

As one of three goalies for the men’s Olympic team for Vancouver, Fleury is battling with New Jersey’s Martin Brodeur and Vancouver’s Roberto Luongo on the depth chart.

Someone has to watch from the pressbox, and Fleury might be that guy.

The 25-year-old backstopper from the Pittsburgh Penguins won’t be complaining if that happens, and the role might suit Fleury, who almost always has a smile on his face.

“Whatever they need me to do, I will be there and I will be happy doing it,” said Fleury, who led the Penguins to the Stanley Cup victory last spring.

“I’m really happy and honoured to be part of that team.”

The NHL season shuts down Feb. 14 and the men’s hockey tournament gets going two days later, so there is no training camp for the Olympics.

That means every game between now and the opening ceremonies in Vancouver, including Wednesday night’s meeting with the Calgary Flames, is an audition for playing time.

So far, Fleury hasn’t been given word as to where he stands.

“I have no idea what the plan is or what they want to do,” Fleury said. “I’m really looking forward to it. At the same time, I have games to win for Pittsburgh.

“I try my best every time I suit up. We’ll see what happens once we’re there.”

If Team Canada brass was watching the Fleury closely since naming the team Dec. 30, they probably won’t like what they’ve seen.

Since Dec. 27, Fleury has just one win for the Penguins, and he’s allowed four or more goals in five of his last seven starts.

“It’s a little frustrating when they score four or five goals,” Fleury said. “We have a group of guys who can play well defensively.

“We’re on the right track right now. The last couple games have been better for us.

“We have had a tough few weeks. We’ve been playing better. We have to keep playing better to make sure we’re on the right track.”

Wednesday, Fleury faced Finland’s projected No. 1 netminder Miikka Kiprusoff and then on Saturday the Penguins take on the Vancouver Canucks.

That meeting pits Fleury against Team Canada teammate Luongo and if he wanted to make an impression, that would be the game to do it.

“Not really. I don’t shoot on him and he doesn’t shoot on me,” Fleury said about the matchup. “I go out there and try to stop the puck and he does the same thing.

“I don’t think one game will make a difference. Every game is one I want to win. We need those two points. It’s no more than that.”

The last time Fleury wore Canadian colours, his ill-fated clearing attempt went off his own player and into his net at the world juniors, and the team settled for silver.

Fleury was tournament MVP the previous year, but Canada also took silver after falling to Russia.

He’s hoping for more success this time around.

“In Halifax, the final against the Russians, it was fun,” Fleury said. “The second time around was a little tougher.”

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