InGoal Daily Update: (Marc-Andre) Fleury Flakes out
… Plus Mike Smith headed to AHL after clearing waivers unclaimed; Carey Price returns to Montreal without his equipment; Devils goalie coach provides entertaining glimpse into Martin Brodeur’s old-school style; and more in the Feb. 3 Daily Update
Forget winning his first Stanley Cup, Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury now has something more important: His own breakfast cereal, which could come in handy if he needs something to eat out of a second Cup.
The Penguins’ No.1 goalie unveiled “Fleury Flakes” this week, following in the skate strides and butterfly slides of Buffalo Sabres counterpart Ryan Miller, who debuted his own “Kick-Save Crunch” earlier this season.
Unlike Miller, who chose honey nut toasted oats, Fleury went with a frosted corn flake. Like Miller, it was produced by PLB Sports, the company also behind ‘Flutie Flakes’ during Doug Flutie’s heyday as a Buffalo Bills quarterback, ‘T.O.’s’ during Terrell Owens stint in Buffalo, and numerous other athlete-endorsed food products. In addition to Giant Eagle Stores in Pittsburgh, “Fleury Flakes” are available online, as is the new t-shirt Fleury is wearing on the back of the cereal box featuring the words “A Winter’s Fleury.”
Pittsburgh teammate Max Talbot also had his own collector’s cereal after the Penguins’ Stanley Cup victory.
Carey Price losing his equipment nothing compared to Patrick Roy
Carey Price made it back to Montreal after the All Star Game in time for the Canadiens game-day skate on Tuesday. His equipment did not, setting the Internet abuzz with rumblings about his availability for that night’s game in Washington until Price finally made it onto the ice for practice 30 minutes late.
According to an excellent account in the Montreal Gazette, thesurrounding Price’s return from the NHL All Star Game, including a broken bus door, and when it finally did arrive after spending the night in the bus, it was nearly frozen.
“I was a little worried,” Price, who is as laid back as goalies come, told The Gazette a day later. “But I didn’t figure it would go missing permanently. At least they knew where it was.”
Veteran Canadiens equipment manager Pierre Gervais wasn’t concerned because he had a spare mask and skates for Price in his own equipment bags, and believes he would have found a way to get his No.1 goalie, who is already on his third set of Vaughn pads this season, outfitted in time, perhaps by having someone fly down from Montreal, which isn’t uncommon. Besides, as he told The Gazette, he wasn’t worried it was gone:
“You don’t have goalie stuff stolen in Washington.”
It was easier for Gervais to relax with Price, who is not the least bit superstitious. But when polar opposite rookie Patrick Roy’s only set of gloves went missing en route to the first game of the 1985 Calder Cup championship series, that was another story altogether. Roy, who was 19 and had just been called up from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League for the AHL playoffs, had even named his trapper Charlotte. But it was left behind after being placed on a dryer after practice, and all Gervais had to offer his superstitious rookie was a “crappy” third set of gloves belonging to Baltimore goalie Michel Dion.
“When Patrick came in, I took him aside and said: ‘Listen, we’ve got a problem. This is what’s happened and this is all we can do,” Gervais told The Gazette. “Patrick understood. I expected him to flip out, but he just said: ‘We’ll do it.’ ”
Roy instead wore a set of gloves belonging to teammate Greg Moffett, made 27 saves in a 4-3 win, and according to the story in The Gazette, never named his equipment again after that.
Mike Smith clears waivers, heading back down to AHL
Unlike Evgeni Nabokov, Mike Smith made it through waivers unclaimed and was assigned to Norfolk of the American Hockey League, according to the St. Petersburg Times.
It’s interesting Tampa Bay chose a more skilled Ellis ahead of a bigger Smith, but it’s not shocking considering they had another year invested in Ellis, while Smith’s contract expires at the end of the season, when he’ll become an unrestricted free agent. That his contract is worth $2.4-million this season also hurt Smith’s chances of being claimed off waivers, especially with Ray Emery set to return from a serious hip injury and available on the open market (reportedly with a willingness to start in the AHL), and not needing to clear waivers like Nabokov after the Red Wings signed him and lost the veteran Russian only to lose him to the Islanders.
“He needs to play,” General Manager Steve Yzerman told The Times. “Having three goaltenders here [with Dwayne Roloson and Dan Ellis], we don’t want to go to any kind of rotation.”
The hard part for Smith, 28, is he was finally starting to play well after a shaky start, winning his last two starts with the Lightning before injuring his knee in a pre-game skate collision with a teammate. He proved he is healthy during a recent conditioning stint in the AHL, but may now fill a need in the AHL because Cedrick Desjardins may need season-ending shoulder surgery after aggravating a previous tear in his labrum.
Brodeur takes shot at rival Rangers as goalie coach provides glimpse at Devils problems
Martin Brodeur conceded his Devils are so far behind the hated New York Rangers in the standings they are “in two different worlds” and admitted a 25-point gap with two months left means there’s probably not much chance of catching them despite New Jersey’s recent 7-1-1 surge. But that didn’t keep Brodeur from stoking the flames of an intense rivalry with a pop shot at their across the Hudson counterparts:
“We don’t like not making the playoffs,” Brodeur told NorthJersey.com on the eve of Thursday’s meeting at Madison Square Gardens. “It hasn’t happened a lot, but they’ve been through seven years in a row not making the playoffs. So, for us, without feeling fortunate about ourselves, we had a great run. It’s been a difficult season. These guys, seven times in a row. It’s tough. I can’t imagine that.”
Brodeur skipped Wednesday’s practice with “general soreness.” But that didn’t mean there wasn’t some of his trademark acrobatic goaltending on display, thanks to goaltending coach Chris Terreri, who retired in 2001 but filled in for their AHL affiliate in a game as recently as 2006.
In fact, Brodeur doesn’t think even he could have accomplished the head first dive across the crease the 46-year-old Terreri used to rob rookie Nick Palmieri with his glove, a save so good that players gathered around after practice to watch it on video (equipment managers were filming so Terreri could show it to his children):
“I don’t think I could have done it,” Brodeur told NorthJersey.com. “You need to be like 5-6.”
Fun jabs at his coach aside, Palmieri’s conversation with Terreri was more revealing, and provided a glimpse into how the game has changed – for both goalies and shooters – since he last tended the twine in the NHL in 2000-01 with the New York Islanders. Palmieri said he expected Terreri to slide across the crease.
“And he said, ‘No, I’m old, so I dive across,’” Palmieri told NorthJersey.com
No word on whether it’s because Terreri’s aging body isn’t willing to drop into the hip- and groin-tweaking butterfly slide, or just because that’s the old style he played, one that can still be seen in Brodeur’s old-school approach to the position. But it’s interesting to note Palmieri’s pre-conceived notion about where to shoot on a goalie because, as we’ve noted here at InGoal in the past, it appears more and more teams are recognizing, and exploiting the fact Brodeur doesn’t do those same things, especially in the playoffs.
One-timers from around the Goaltending World (Wide Web):
~ Kelly Hrudey has made a very successful transition from the NHL crease to the broadcast booth. Now the CBC analyst is adding minor league owner to his resume with newsof the tier-2 junior British Columbia Hockey League. No word on whether the goalies will now be required to wear blue headbands under their masks.
~ With Smith on his way out, Dwayne Roloson continues to move up in Tampa Bay, with eight wins and four shutouts in 11 games and a .932 save percentage since arriving in a trade from the lowly New York Islanders just over a month ago. Two of those shutouts have come against the division rival Washington Capitals, who the Lightning play on Friday, and one other against the Flyers, who they trailed but only two points atop the entire Eastern Conference as of Thursday morning. There were also a couple of ugly early games right after arriving in Tampa Bay, but as Roloson explained to ESPN.com, it was just part of the adjustment:
“When I first got here, it was a bit of a roller-coaster ride, but things settled down,” Roloson told ESPN.com. “As a team, we’ve adjusted in terms of me getting to know guys and guys getting to know me. We’ve gone through the adjustment period and it’s been great.”