New Marc-Andre Fleury blog: On the Ottawa Senators, Sidney Crosby and Mellon Arena

With a little downtime in between the end of the regular season at the start of the playoffs, Marc-Andre Fleury caught up with his somewhat regularly maintained blog on RDS.  As always, we have our residential French translator Becky to thank for the quick turnaround on the post.  So take the jump and see what MAF has to say about facing the Ottawa Senators (again), Sidney Crosby's goal-scoring race and the final regular season good-bye to Mellon Arena.

Hello to all,

It’s practically a playoff tradition.  For the third time in four years, we will meet the Ottawa Senators in the first round of the playoffs. 

In 2007, the Senators eliminated us in five games, but in 2008, we won the series in just four games.

I am expecting a difficult series against the Senators, as they’ve shown a lot of character this season.  Head coach Cory Clouston has also established a good system of play in Ottawa.

Despite the loss of Alex Kovalev, I am wary of their attack.  The Senators have two dangerous scorers in Daniel Alfredsson and Jason Spezza.  In my opinion, Alfredsson is one of the best players in the NHL. 

You can never predict anything with a guy like him.  When you expect him to shoot, he’ll often opt for a pass to Spezza.

From now until the first game on Wednesday in Pittsburgh, we will watch a lot of video of the Senators.  I’ve already retained an important lesson from our last confrontations with them.

We will have to push our style of play and dictate the pace of the game.  Our attack will always be our most dangerous weapon.

The biggest danger is to imitate the other team.  We will have to stay patient against a team as defensive as the Senators.

Crosby’s magic

In the 82nd and final match of the year, Sidney Crosby reached the 50-goal level for the first time in his career.  ‘Sid’ did it in grand style, garnering five points (2 goals, 3 assists) in a 6-5 win over the New York Islanders.

It was simply incredible.  He has the ability to surpass himself in critical moments.

I was really happy to see him score his 50th and 51st goals.  He hasn’t just got a natural-born talent for hockey, he works like crazy.

There was a time when Sidney was known as a passer, but at the beginning of the year, he decided to change his game.  He wanted to fire more shots, and the gamble paid off.  Only a guy like Crosby could accomplish such a feat.

The Charm of the Mellon

At the end of the year, the old Mellon Arena will close its doors.  The Penguins marked the event by inviting more than fifty former Penguins to our last [home] game of the season, April 8th against the Islanders.

It was truly a beautiful evening.  Before the match, they showed videos of the team’s greatest moments.  I still marvel at Mario Lemieux’s legendary dekes...

I was also happy to see once more my save against Nicklas Lidstrom in the final seconds of Game 7 against the Red Wings.

In addition, the Penguins offered a gift to their fans by having us give them our jerseys after the match.

For my part, I’m afraid I’ll miss Mellon Arena.  I’ve never known another arena like it in the NHL.

This year, I was getting a bottle of water and suddenly jumped.  I wasn’t expecting to see a mouse run between my pads.  That’s the Mellon!

The old barns are never perfect, but they’ve got an invaluable charm.

We’ll talk again after the first playoff round!

Marc-André Fleury

RDS.ca (in French)

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