PITTSBURGH, PA - OCTOBER 20: Marc-Andre Fleury #29 of the Pittsburgh Penguins protects the net against the Montreal Canadiens during the game at Consol Energy Center on October 20, 2011 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Penguins defeated the Canadiens 3-1. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Happy Friday. Hopefully you're all still riding high on the Penguins' streak of Crosby/Geno-less hockey that has since amounted to a division-leading 12 points. However it's worth noting that at this point in the season, the Pens also hold an early lead in total games played with nine. Not that it's all that big a difference between several teams with seven a piece, but let's remember this as a time when the Pens still managed to get by without their top two scorers.
Of course you can also start talking about top three scorers if you want to throw James Neal into the mix. His seven goals lead the Pens and ties him with Phil Kesse for most in the league. If you think about where he's come from since the midseason trade toward the end of last season, you have to applaud that effort. For anyone who let him slip past in the later rounds of your fantasy hockey drafts, don't kick yourself too hard.
And then there's Marc-Andre Fleury. Minus a bit of a flu bug at the start of the season, it's hard to miss the fact that he's playing in peak form. Or at least, much better than last October, that's for sure. At 4-2-0 that's already three more wins than he registered for the entire first month last season. Factor in four more games and the likelihood that he will start three or all of them, and he could have 10 wins by the second week of November, if not earlier. Just being a bit conservative here.
Our residential translator Becky found a great quote that highlight's typical Fleury humor from a French article that ran on Radio Canada:
"I don't want to be talking to Sidney every day asking for news about his head," Fleury told Radio-Canada Sports on Wednesday.
"There's no question that we can't wait to see him back in uniform for a game. He has already taken a big step in that direction by starting to practice with contact. Still, he mustn't skip any steps. Patience is the only solution. We don't want to see Sid back for a game, we want to see him back for good."