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Fleury Ready for Bigger Role

Sunday, 09.22.2013 / 12:23 PM / Features
By Sam Kasan
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Fleury Ready for Bigger Role

The Penguins planned on entering the 2013-14 season with Marc-Andre Fleury as their starting goaltender. With Saturday’s news that backup Tomas Vokoun is out indefinitely with a blood clot in his pelvis, Fleury will really be counted on to carry the load.

“It would be different for our team in terms of how many games Marc would play. And maybe which games and how we would work the schedule,” head coach Dan Bylsma said.

“I think (Bylsma) knows where I’m standing. He knows I like to play,” Fleury said. “I’m in good shape. If they need me for more (games) I’ll be ready.”

Fleury, 28, has a long tradition of appearing in a lot of games throughout his career. He’s played in 50, 67, 62, 67, 65 and 67 games in a single season in his lifetime. And Fleury is the kind of goalie that never wants to be taken out of the lineup.

“Marc likes to play. If he’s playing all 82 (games), he’s happy with that,” Bylsma said. “He’s happy going right back in there and playing. It means he’ll play more in the first month than we’ve already scheduled.”

“I like to play, be out there on the ice,” Fleury said. “I still have a lot of fun playing the game. I’m comfortable with (a lot of games).”

Goalie Jeff Zatkoff, 26, has moved up the depth chart in Vokoun’s absence and will back up Fleury for the foreseeable future – Vokoun’s timetable for return is still unknown.

With two preseason games remaining on the Penguins schedule – Monday against Chicago and Wednesday at Detroit – it is likely that Zatkoff and Fleury will split the starts, although coach Bylsma did not divulge his plans.

Fleury would like to have at least one more preseason game to get primed for the start of the regular season – which begins Oct. 3.

“Another full game would be great,” Fleury said. “I’ll get into the length of the game.”

But one thing is clear, Fleury will play anytime his coach taps him on the shoulder.

“I’ll go in whenever the coach asks me to,” Fleury said. “I love to play. I love the game. Anytime I’m in there I’ll be comfortable playing. I’ll try to get wins and get two points.”

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