Following the Penguins' elimination from the playoffs, Marc-Andre Fleury was quick to applaud Tampa Bay for the team's ability to gut it out in the face of a 3-1 hole to advance in the postseason. While it did mark the end of Pittsburgh's 2010-11 season, MAF remains confident in the road that lies ahead not only for him, but also in the return of Sidney Crosby and the Pens' role in free agency.
After the jump, our residential translator Becky provides the latest installment of MAF's blog.
Saint-Louis, the inspiration of the Lightning
I’ve just left my exit meeting with Dan Bylsma and Ray Shero. It’s the signal that the season, unfortunately, is over.
I hate losing, that’s a feeling that will never change. Before the start of our series against the Lightning, I had predicted a difficult confrontation, but I really believed in our chances, despite the absence of Sidney and Gino.
In the end, the Lightning had the final word, with a 1-0 victory in the seventh and final game, in Pittsburgh. I find it even harder to accept our elimination, when I think about the fact that we had been leading 3-1 in the series. But the Lightning never gave up; they’re a very gutsy team.
Martin Saint-Louis acts as an inspiration for the Lightning. He is the true leader of the team, much more than Steven Stamkos. Stamkos has an enormous amount of potential, but he doesn’t have the experience of a Saint-Louis.
I have really seen just how great a player Martin is. He is solid on his skates for his size, he is very quick, he’s got a good shot and exceptional vision.
But beyond that, he is one of the NHL’s most difficult players for a goalie to read. He always hides his intentions very well, and it is almost impossible to know where he is going to shoot or if he’ll opt for a pass.
Not too talkative
There is always the traditional handshake at the end of a playoff series. I am often asked if I speak to my opponents. The answer is pretty simple: when I’ve just lost, I’m not too talkative. I just want to go back to the dressing room.
All the same, I did take the time to say congratulations to Dwayne Roloson. He had a very good series in front of the Lightning net. He’s a very experienced goalie. The Lightning made a good deal in acquiring him from the Islanders in January.
Lots of free agents
The Penguins might well have a very different look next year. At forward, there are several free agents (9).
Among those are my good friends Pascal Dupuis and Max Talbot. Not surprisingly, they want to prolong their careers in Pittsburgh and I’m hopeful of seeing them back. They had a very good series, playing together on a line with Chris Conner against the top line of the Lightning.
Alex Kovalev will also be free as a bird come July 1. I don’t know what his plans are.
Crosby for 15 years…
As for me, I’ve decided to relax in the coming days. After a lot of thought, I turned down the invitation of the Canadian [national] team to participate in the World Championships in Slovakia. I’ve played too much hockey over these last few years.
Plus, I have a feeling that we are going to have a longer run in the playoffs next year. Especially with Crosby and Malkin healthy.
I sincerely hope to find Crosby in perfect health next training camp. He took a step back with his concussion during the playoffs. He stopped training with us the last week, but he continued to travel with the team.
In Pittsburgh, we hope to count on Sid for the next 15 years, not just for a few days. It wasn’t easy to see him far from the action, but it was the best decision.Å bientôt.