Marc-Andre Fleury is better than ever at 36 years old

Published May 14, 2021 at 11:36

Goaltending has been much more technique-driven over the last 20 years. Younger goalies rely more on positioning and mechanics than on instinct and unpredictability. It's not really a bad thing, because goalies have gotten a lot better in terms of productivity in that period. However, goaltending will still be more of an art than a science, no matter how much study and technique goes into it.

And when Fleury is at his best, he's Picasso.

«I do miss it a little bit,» Fleury said when asked about the old-school style of goaltending that led to more theatrical saves. «Obviously, everybody is doing their best to stop the puck the best way they can. That's always the goal. But I miss those Grant Fuhr big glove saves, flashing the leather. Or Andy Moog's two-pad stacks. It was so spectacular. Those guys were fun to watch. Dominik Hasek, I don't think there was anyone like him. Guys were spectacular and it was fun to watch, definitely.»

Fleury, perhaps more than any current goalie, blends the new with the old, the technique with the flair. His climb up the all-time leaderboards has been as fun for those watching as it is for the always-grinning netminder.

«To me, he's a guy who looks like he's having a ton of fun playing the game,» Brodeur said. «I think that goes a long way. He appreciates his teammates. His teammates are playing hard in front of him. You can see it in his interactions with players, even the referees or in interviews, the smile that he has. I know him personally too, I spent some time with Team Canada with him in 2010, and he's just a genuine hockey player, a genuine person.»


Fleury is now the active leader in playoff wins (81) and games played (146), and he will become the first goalie in NHL history to appear in 15 consecutive postseasons when he takes the ice for the upcoming playoffs. And he's not finished yet. Fleury's game is clearly still at a high standard, and his enthusiasm for the game is as strong as ever.

«From my earliest days working with Marc-Andre, beginning when he was 15, we frequently discussed his goaltending idols, different approaches of the top goalies and their style of play,» Fleury's long-time agent Allan Walsh told The Athletic. «I would talk to Flower about my goaltending idol growing up, Ken Dryden, and some of the other goalie legends of the 1950s and 60s. It's somewhat surreal that the 15-year-old goalie I started representing so many years ago is now in the conversation among some of the greatest goalies of all time. I know how much Flower loved watching Martin Brodeur and Patrick Roy growing up and how being in that special group means so much to him today.»

Now, young goalies in Quebec stay up late to watch Fleury play. They mimic his signature saves in practice. What does it all mean to him?

«It means I'm getting old,» Fleury joked, taking the same modest approach instilled in him at a young age by his father. «Obviously, it's a huge honor. I've been very fortunate and lucky to play with great teams and stay healthy for most of it. I'm very lucky.»

Credit: TheAthletic
May 14   |   216 answers
Marc-Andre Fleury is better than ever at 36 years old

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