Marc-Andre Fleury Out With Second Concussion Of Season
The Pittsburgh Penguins announced Saturday morning that goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury has been diagnosed with a concussion.
Marc-Andre Fleury did not join the team on the trip to New York and is out with a concussion.
— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) April 2, 2016
On Thursday, Fleury took a James Neal shot off the mask during a game against the Nashville Predators:
Root Sports showed a play from Thursday where Marc-Andre Fleury was hit in the head by a James Neal shot: pic.twitter.com/XUu31ENDWv
— Seth Rorabaugh (@emptynetters) April 2, 2016
There has been what seems like a rash of goaltender concussions this season. Frederik Andersen of the Anaheim Ducks is currently recovering from one. Cam Ward (Carolina), Antti Raanta (New York Rangers), Andrew Hammond (Ottawa), and Darcy Kuemper (Minnesota) have all missed time due to concussion and many of those appear to have been caused by shots off the mask.
This is, of course, tough news for Pittsburgh fans sweating out the Penguins’ postseason hopes. More importantly, however, it’s a scary situation for Fleury personally. This is the the second concussion Fleury has suffered this season. He also missed time in December.
There is no ironclad rule for how long it will take to recover from such brain trauma, and it may be harder for goaltenders than other players, in large part because of the level of sustained focus the position requires. As Ryan Miller and James Reimer told InGoal in 2013,
“Part of it is you lose the ability to focus and that’s our whole job,” Miller said. “I felt off for quite a while.”
Toronto’s James Reimer went through a similar experience last season, struggling for months after his return from an apparent head injury that wasn’t properly diagnosed as a neck problem until he was shut down shortly before the season ended. It wasn’t until working with what he called a “Manual Therapist” that he even realized just how off he had been feeling.
“I don’t know how to explain it, but lights turn back on that you didn’t realize were out,” Reimer said.
While Fleury is out, the Penguins will be relying on rookie Matt Murray, who made 24 saves for his first NHL shutout in a playoff-clinching 5-0 win over the New York Islanders on Saturday, and Jeff Zatkoff in net.