How the Vancouver/Calgary brawl might have saved Marc-Andre Fleury

Justin K. Aller

Marc-Andre Fleury wanted to get into a fight last night, but little did he know the refs may have saved him from himself, and helped the Penguins avoid a very costly and totally senseless injury. Peter Budaj, the other would-be fighter, is trained in MMA.

Last night, Marc-Andre Fleury wanted to fight.

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But, as you can see the referee didn't want that to happen. And it wasn't just any old of referee last night that was chasing Fleury down and preventing him from fighting, it was Kyle Rehman

Why is that significant? Take a look at the game that Rehman reffed on Saturday night, the infamous Vancouver/Calgary line brawl that started right off the first faceoff, followed by John Tortorella attempting to get into the Flames locker room. Referees are around to keep order, and there was no order that night.

Rehman, responsibly, decided he wasn't going to let things escalate again, especially given that the Pittsburgh/Montreal game only had 5:10 left to play, and with the score 5-1 Penguins, the outcome was already decided. So Rehman stepped in as you can see above and prevented it from happening.

Which, undoubtedly, was the best possible thing that could happen for the Pittsburgh Penguins. Marc-Andre Fleury has played in 41 of the team's 50 games this season, a very heavy pace. Fleury is playing well too, leading the league in wins and posting respectable goals against average (2.30) and save percentage (.916%). Losing him to an injury that he suffered in a fight would be a critical blow to the team.

And, as pointed out in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Fleury had no clue about what he was in for:

Fleury, incidentally, was informed following the game that Budaj is trained in martial arts.

His tone, for just a moment, turned serious.

"Wow," Fleury said. "Really? Are you serious? If I had known that, I would have left my mask on."

Had Peter Budaj went all Brent Johnson to Fleury's Rick DiPietro, the Penguins very season could have been jeopardized if MAF was put on the shelf long-term with an injury. Pittsburgh has the most man-games lost to injury this year, but Fleury (along with Sidney Crosby) has been an absolute anchor for the team, helping buoy them through the tough times and keep winning games.

But, thanks to a quick thinking referee who wanted to avoid another black eye for the league, it was all prevented. Fleury and the Penguins can only be so lucky.
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