“There is nothing like playing hockey in life”

QUEBEC – Marc-André Fleury was told there’s nothing like playing hockey, so he thought he might as well stretch the fun.

« I’m lucky to be able to continue playing, » said the 37-year-old goalkeeper. “Several players that I have met now in retirement told me to try to play as long as possible because there is nothing like playing hockey in life,” said Fleury during his visit. in Quebec for the Pro Am Gagné Bergeron, last week.

More importantly, Fleury declares to be always animated by the sacred fire.

“I still feel like playing, I still like it. The body has aged, but it still holds enough to play. »

TO READ : Rossi sees himself in the NHL with the Wild this season

« Flower » recently agreed to a two-year, $7 million contract with the Minnesota Wild, which will see him into his 40s.

“I doubt it will continue for me beyond these two years,” he warned with a sneer.

Patrice Bergeron, Boston Bruins, and he are the deans of the NHL among Quebec players, Fleury being the eldest of the other by a few months. Bergeron confirmed his return for a 19th season in Massachusetts last week.

« I’m glad he’s continuing, » Fleury said. He’s such a good player, a good role model and a good person. The Bruins always have good rosters and he’s always in the thick of the action. Of course he complicates my task when I face him, but it’s the ‘fun’ that he decided to come back. »

The signing of Fleury caused the departure of Cam Talbot, who was the Wild’s go-to goaltender before Fleury was acquired from the Chicago Blackhawks in March. Talbot, 35, was traded to the Ottawa Senators last month. Fleury therefore finds himself officially wearing the title of number one goalkeeper of the team.

Fleury had started the playoffs in net for the Wild, even though Talbot had gone undefeated in regulation in his last 16 outings of the season (13-0-3).

« It was okay to share with Cam, or play more, » he said of the cohabitation.

“For this season, it looks like I don’t have so many expectations. As I said, it’s over, I want to enjoy it, have fun and win, that’s always the primary objective, he noted. That will be up to the coach (Dean Evason) to decide. We will also see how the body will hold. »

Winner of the Vézina Trophy in 2021, the Sorelois played 56 games last season: 45 with the Blackhawks (19-21-5 record, 2.95 goals-against average and .908 save percentage) and 11 with the Wild (9-2-0, 2.74 average, .910 percentage).

Already having his place among the great goaltenders in history, he could surpass Patrick Roy’s total of 551 victories this season, ranking second all-time. He is 31 wins behind Roy. Martin Brodeur sits far ahead of the duo, with 691 wins.

Fleury was the third goaltender to reach 500 wins, shutting out the Montreal Canadiens 3-0 at the Bell Center on December 9 in a Blackhawks uniform.

The very first draft pick in 2003, selected by the Pittsburgh Penguins, is 520-299-85 with two ties, 2.57 GAA, .913 save percentage and 71 shutouts in 939 games (914 starts) with the Wild, Blackhawks, Vegas Golden Knights and Penguins. He is tied for 12th in shutout history.

In 167 playoff games, he is 92-73 with 16 shutouts, a 2.54 GAA and a .912 save percentage. He won the Stanley Cup three times with the Penguins (2009, 2016, 2017).

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