The Antistar Farewell Tour

(Sorel-Tracy) The contrast was amusing. Marc-André Fleury speaks with the media who came to meet him as part of his annual golf tournament. The discussion turns to his upcoming farewell tour, and what we thought would be his goodbyes at the Bell Center last October.


Published yesterday at 7:04 p.m.

“It’s okay, I don’t need any more attention!” », he says, with his usual shyness.

Quietly behind him, the supporters arrived one by one, waiting to meet the most illustrious Sorelois. Cards, sticks, Golden Knights, Wild and Blackhawks jerseys, even pairs of sneakers. His autograph was requested on just about every material possession.

PHOTO MARTIN CHAMBERLAND, THE PRESS

Marc-André Fleury signs autographs in front of Les Dunes Golf Club.

The guy who didn’t need attention had just that, attention.

“It’s still weird that they see me like that. I’m not trying to be an idol, explained the 39-year-old goalkeeper. I’ve been playing for a long time. My dad always told me to have fun and work hard. If I can share this with young people, it’s simple, but at the same time, it can help them in many things. »

Last lap

Fleury better get used to it, because the spotlight will often be on him over the next 12 months. On April 17, he signed a one-year contract with the Wild. And this time, it was said clearly: this will be his last season. And not a last one like the last ones Bye by Dominique Michel. A real last one.

Last year, he never clearly announced his intentions, but his visit to Montreal on October 17 looked like the end of a chapter, in a 5-2 win.

Read the article “Marc-André Fleury: “It was a wonderful evening””

“At the start of the season, I was pretty sure it was my last. But I don’t know, it changed a little during the year, I had fun, he recalled. I don’t expect something like this every time I come back to Montreal. It’s okay, I don’t need any more attention! But it was really nice of the fans, of you media gang. It’s a very nice experience. »

He certainly had a successful farewell at the Bell Center, but we can guess that he will want to complete the circle differently in Pittsburgh and in Vegas, where he played 13 and 4 seasons. During the Wild’s visit to Pittsburgh, he had to settle for the role of auxiliary. And on its last visit to Vegas, on April 12, the Wild had been eliminated from the playoff race three days earlier. The Golden Knights won 7-2.

Fleury will therefore have another opportunity to say goodbye, this time without any ambiguity. What comes however, you will have guessed, with the much reviled attention.

“I thought about not saying it because of that!” joked Fleury. Last year, I was asked: “Is this your last?” So I couldn’t get out of it! »

I answer the questions, it’s correct. But I don’t need more airtime. I’m okay like that.

Marc-Andre Fleury

His answers fit perfectly with the description given of him by his fellow citizen François Beauchemin, another headliner of the Beauchemin-Fleury-Beauvillier-Aubé-Kubel Golf Classic.

“He is very down to earth,” described the former defender. No one is more important than another with him. It’s fun to see. »

PHOTO MARTIN CHAMBERLAND, THE PRESS

François Beauchemin

The 2e rank in sight?

For this last year, Fleury has set very simple objectives. ” The series. In the playoffs, you have the chance to play for the Cup. This is the most intense moment. On the personal side, it’s about enjoying it, having fun and trying to win matches. »

Fleury will also be able to gain a few ranks here and there in the various rankings where he looks good. He obviously won’t move from his 2e rank for victories (561), because he would essentially have to play until 127 to surpass Martin Brodeur and his 691 triumphs.

But he could rise to 2e rank for matches played. He has 995, behind Patrick Roy (1003), Roberto Luongo (1014) and Brodeur (1266).

“Martin has set the bar high! It would be interesting to finish 2e for matches played. But it’s not something I absolutely want to achieve. I just want to win as many matches as possible. »

His number of games played will depend on what his CEO, Bill Guerin, decides. Filip Gustavsson, Fleury’s assistant, has just had a difficult season. However, the Wild will still have to devote nearly $15 million in 2024-2025 to buying out the contracts of Ryan Suter and Zach Parisé. In such a context, Gustavsson’s salary of 3.75 million hurts. If young Jesper Wallstedt replaces him, the Wild will gain flexibility. And Fleury will play more than just behind an established goalie.

It will also, inevitably, be more opportunities to play for the last time in the different amphitheaters on the circuit.

“It won’t change anything, it will be the same routine. I don’t want to be a distraction to the team or try to do too much. The important thing is to win matches. »

An eventful year for Beauvillier

PHOTO MARTIN CHAMBERLAND, THE PRESS

Anthony Beauvillier

1er July is approaching, so are the moves. If that doesn’t answer 937-0707, think of Anthony Beauvillier, who must be well versed in this matter. The forward wore the colors of three teams last season: the Canucks, the Blackhawks and the Predators. A year that was “quite difficult mentally, more than physically,” he conceded during a press scrum at Les Dunes golf club in Sorel. Beauvillier had to settle for 5 goals and 12 assists for 17 points in 60 games. “With the season I had, it’s going to be difficult to have a long run. It will be up to me to prove myself,” he added. A return to Nashville is not out of the question for the former No. 1 picker tour of the Islanders, but he recognizes that “the teams are in over their heads at the moment”, one week before the draft.

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