Last season, after Game 1 of the Penguins' quarterfinal playoff series against the New York Islanders, Marc-Andre Fleury had the look of a Stanley Cup-winning goaltender after shutting out the Islanders 5-0.
However, after being benched for allowing 14 goals in the next three games as the Islanders tied the series at two games each, Fleury had the shell-shocked look of a rookie wondering where it had gone so wrong.
While many expected and even wanted Pens GM Ray Shero to trade Fleury in the offseason and turn the staring goaltending duties to Tomas Vokoun, Shero decided to keep him as the starter, albeit with a much shorter leash.
With Vokoun now out for an expected three to six months due to a blood clot in his pelvis, all eyes will be on Fleury to see if he can regain his regular-season form and put his postseason troubles behind him.
If he can’t, don’t be surprised to see Ray Shero look to acquire a top-notch goaltender, perhaps by using highly touted and highly disappointing defenseman Simon Despres as trade bait.