And he plays well above the rim

And he plays well above the rim

Postautor: chenyan94 » 10 sie 2018, o 10:45

Anyone who has played with Marc-Andre Fleury can tell he’s dialed in by watching his mannerisms.

Last year http://www.seahawksauthorizedshops.com/authentic-d.j.-fluker-jersey , he rubbed the shaft of his stick after making a save with it on Alex Ovechkin. This year, he continued a career-long tradition of rubbing the post as a sign of appreciation for keeping a puck out.

”That’s when you know he’s in the zone,” Pittsburgh defenseman Olli Maatta said.

Fleury is in one of the best zones of his career in the playoffs with the expansion Vegas Golden Knights, who have followed up a magical inaugural season with a trip to the Western Conference final. The goaltending of Fleury is the biggest reason they’ve gotten this far and is a continuation of his remarkable playoff reputation rehabilitation.

After taking the Penguins to the Stanley Cup Final in 2008 and winning it all in 2009, Fleury lost four of the next five series he played and each postseason posted a save percentage under .900. He has since gotten his groove back, helping the Penguins win the Cup again a year ago, and now leads the NHL playoffs with a 1.53 goals-against average, .951 save percentage and four shutouts.

”I don’t think it was anything physically that he changed,” former Penguins teammate and current Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik said. ”It was all confidence-driven. He’s always been a guy who’s really competitive and really loose at the same time. I think it was just confidence. I think he needed a fresh start. Maybe he just needed a clean slate, and you perform better when you’re more appreciated.”

It’s impossible not to appreciate the impact ”Flower” has made in the desert as the face of a new franchise as he went 29-13-4 with a 2.24 GAA and .927 save percentage for Pacific Division-winning Vegas. The fresh start might have rejuvenated Fleury more than a decade into his career Josh Allen Jersey Bills , but his bounce-back in becoming a great playoff goalie again is six years in the making.

The low point came in 2012. Fleury allowed 26 goals over six games to Philadelphia in a first-round exit. The next playoffs, backup Tomas Vokoun started more games, and it was fair to wonder if Fleury had lost it.

”You learn from losing,” Fleury said Wednesday. ”You learn from tough times and pressure and stuff like that. It made me a better goalie from it.”

Now-Capitals defenseman Matt Niskanen was there for some of the struggles but didn’t level them all on Fleury. By 2014, he noticed a different goalie.

”There was a period of time there where maybe (it was) not entirely his fault, a few things went wrong and it snowballed on him and he had a tough go there, I think, mentally for a couple springs,” Niskanen said. ”But by the time of my last year there he was really good again.”

The scars of another second-round exit led to more blame for Fleury, who was scapegoated for a team with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin not doing more after the Cup in 2009.

”Sometimes it’s the way your team plays in front of you Jaire Alexander Color Rush Jersey ,” said Penguins winger Carl Hagelin, who beat Fleury with the Rangers in playoff series in 2014 and 2015. ”Sometimes, like any other player, you might have a bad series or a bad playoffs and I think for a goalie if you have that, people are going to be all over you.”

Power forward Robert Williams was projected to be a lottery pick – and that was last year, after his freshman year at Texas A&M.

But there he was, sliding down to the Boston Celtics at the 27th pick in the NBA draft Thursday night.

”It’s not my job to know what the other 26 teams are thinking,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said after adding the two-time Southeastern Conference defensive player of the year. ”We thought that he was the right pick for us, and we felt very fortunate to be able to get him.”

A 6-foot-10, 237-pound Oil City http://www.patriotsauthorizedshop.com/authentic-jason-mccourty-jersey , Louisiana, native, Williams was considered a certain first-round pick as a freshman – maybe in the top 10.

But he decided he wasn’t ready. He returned and averaged 10.4 points and an SEC-leading 9.2 rebounds while leading the Aggies to the NCAA tournament’s Sweet 16.

”He’s a rim-protector and a rebounder, and he can play above the rim on both ends of the court,” Celtics general manager Danny Ainge said. ”We don’t have much of that.”

Williams, 20, still has some work to do- especially on offense, Ainge conceded.

”He’s still young,” Ainge said. ”He brings an upside. There’s still parts of his game that are untapped. But rim-protection and rebounding, we know that.”

Stevens said current Celtics big men Al Horford and Gordon Hayward will be a big help in getting Williams ready. ”He won’t have any better role models than the guys in front of him http://www.ravensauthorizedshops.com/authentic-anthony-averett-jersey ,” the coach said.

The Celtics followed an appearance in the 2017 Eastern Conference finals with an offseason overhaul that brought in Hayward and Kyrie Irving. Despite losing both of them to injuries during the season, they returned to the league’s final four thanks in part to Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, back-to-back No. 3 picks in the previous two years.

But after stockpiling eight first-round picks in the previous four drafts, including three lottery picks, the Celtics were left with just their own first-rounder this year and no picks in the second. They could have up to four first-rounders next year.

Ainge said he looked into moving up to the top of the draft.

”We spent the last couple of weeks figuring out what the cost was. We knew that was very, very unlikely,” he said.

Acquiring a second-round pick didn’t interest him all that much.

”We don’t need more young players really,” he said. ”We feel good about adding one that does something that we don’t have.”

Speaking at the team’s brand new practice facility, the Auerbach Center, Stevens said Williams was a good athlete with good feet and an arm-span of 7-feet http://www.cowboysauthorizedshops.com/authentic-jihad-ward-jersey , 5-inches. Williams blocked 155 shots in college – third in Texas A&M history, with 78 as a sophomore that were the second-most in a single season for an Aggie.

”Right now he is an elite athlete, with incredible length,” Stevens said. ”And he plays well above the rim. Obviously, if you can have four shooters in the game and a guy like that rolling to the rim, you can just throw it into the air and he can go get it.”

Because Williams was expected to go higher in the draft, the Celtics did not have a workout for him in Boston. Stevens said having a prospect visit is ”just a formality in a lot of ways” for Ainge and his staff.

”They’ve already watched them pay live a bunch, spent time with their coaches and everybody else,” Stevens said. ”But I don’t think you need to watch must to tell how athletic he is. It’s pretty obvious.”



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