The National Hockey League (NHL) has announced the 2015 Columbus NHL All-Star Game roster. It was no surprise that Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin were among those chosen, but the big shock came with the goalie selections. Shocking was who wasn't on that list, as Marc-Andre Fleury was not among those chosen. I double checked and there wasn't a typo, he really didn't get selected.
Now, on a side note, the other three goalies going to the All-Star Game are Nashville Predators' Pekka Rinne, Montreal Canadiens Carey Price, and Chicago Blackhawks' Corey Crawford who was voted in by the fans. Those guys, I have no problem with, as they are posting fantastic numbers along with Fleury. The other three goalies are where the problem lies.
Let's take a look at the numbers (I excluded Crawford since he was voted in by the fans):
|Pekka Rinne (NSH)||1.98||28||0.93||3|
|Carey Price (MTL)||2.19||22||0.928||2|
|Marc-Andre Fleury (PIT)||2.16||21||0.926||6|
|Jimmy Howard (DET)||2.11||16||0.92||2|
|Roberto Luongo (FLA)||2.23||17||0.927||2|
|Sergei Bobrovsky (CBJ)||2.28||15||0.914||1|
(* goals against average (GAA), save percentage (SVP), and shutouts (SO) * statistics as of 1/13/15 found at NHL.com)
Two numbers that pop out are wins and shutouts. Fleury has at least four more wins than the other three selected. Not to mention, he has more shutouts (six, which is a career high) than those three guys combined.
The most bizarre pick is Sergei Bobrovsky. The only reason he was selected is because Columbus is hosting the All-Star Game. Why? There is absolutely no logical reason that he was chosen based on the statistics that he has been posting. Fleury is on pace to record 43 wins, which would be a career high. While Bobrovsky, Howard, and Luongo haven't even reached the 20 win mark yet. Also, Fleury is currently ranked in the top 10 in GAA, SVP, SO, and Wins. In addition, Fleury holds both of the Penguin franchise records for career wins at 310 and shutouts at 34.
Considering all this, how can you not select him as an All Star? Can't come up with anything? Neither can I, but the NHL had other thoughts. Fleury expressed his disappointment, but said it would give him a chance to rest up. Fleury always looks to the bright side of things. The Penguins locker room even expressed their bewilderment, and Twitter blew up with questions. I have no answers to help, and quite frankly, I think the NHL has lost their minds.
However, this league is ever changing. Howard was injured (groin) during a game and Rinne is also on the injured list. Their injuries rule them out for the All-Star Game. Thus, a replacement has finally been announced. The NHL made good on their second chance. Fleury has finally been named to the 2015 NHL All-Star Game roster.
"I'm pretty pumped...It's always an honor when you get a chance to play with all these guys. I'm looking forward to it," Fleury expressed.
It's a well deserved opportunity for "The Flower." It should have happened in the initial selections, but now Fleury can take advantage. This will be his second All-Star game appearance. His first was at the 2011 NHL All-Star Game in Carolina. He did a fantastic job and was enjoyable to watch. He was making someone laugh at every turn.
Time for the Flower to bloom for the whole league!