Hockey

CBC Sports - Tuesday Nov. 19, 2013 14:10 ET

Olympic power rankings of 30 Canadian NHL skaters: Week 7

Goalie debate: Should Marc-Andre Fleury make the team?

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Marc-Andre Fleury of the Pittsburgh Penguins needs to prove he can play in big games after a poor playoff run last season. (Jim McIsaac/Getty)

In Week 7 of our Olympic hockey power rankings, Tim Wharnsby of CBC Sports ranks 30 Canadian skaters according to their performance over the past seven days. Each week, Wharnsby and Guillaume Lefrancois of Radio-Canada also debate one player in greater detail.

Although these power rankings focus on forwards and defencemen, Canada’s goalies are still up for debate. This week, it’s Marc-Andre Fleury of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

TW: Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury should be applauded for the way he emerged out of the gate this season. He reeled off seven victories in seven starts with plenty of pressure on him.

He not only had to win back the confidence of his teammates, coaching staff and the Penguins management team after another subpar playoffs, he didn’t have a proverbial safety net because of his unhealthy backup, Tomas Vokoun. The veteran netminder has yet to play this season because of a blood clot condition.

Fleury has cooled since his hot start – he is 4-6-0 in his last 10 starts – but his offensively-talented teammates up front have stalled, too. They have scored only 19 times in Fleury’s last 10 games. It seems Fleury’s work in the summer on his technique and with a sports psychologist has him back on track.

But until he plays well when the games count in the playoffs, I don’t think he will be considered for one of the three goalkeeper positions for the Canadian Olympic team.

GL: I totally agree. Fleury’s hot start was both impressive and impossible to predict. Sure, he lost 4 of his first 6 games in November. But besides a 5-1 thrashing suffered at the hand of the newly hot New York Rangers, he has not allowed more than three goals in a game, which generally gets the job done with Pittsburgh’s high-powered offence. 

And let’s not forget that two of the mainstays on his defense, Kris Letang and Rob Scuderi, played only about half of the Penguins’ games so far this season.

Roberto Luongo and Carey Price are locks for Sochi, and the third spot might very well belong to Corey Crawford. However, with his play this season, Fleury deserves a long hard look from Team Canada.

In a way, Fleury has had the same kind of 2013 season as Price: good enough in the regular season, terrible in the playoffs. That would put him in the same boat as Price, but Team Canada opted to bring the Canadians’ goaltender to the summer camp. It says a lot about the shaky goaltending situation.

Canada’s crease is still wide open, with a little more than a month to go before decisions are made. If Fleury keeps it up, he will put himself in a nice spot, should one of the contenders struggle, or get injured.

Forwards
1. Sidney Crosby

Key Stat: A goal and an assist in 3 games
Tim says: After a hot start the Penguins captain has cooled and lost his lead in NHL scoring race.
Previous ranking: 1
2. Jonathan Toews

Key stat: Picked up production with 1 goal and 3 points in 3 games
Tim says: Slot this leader in as Canada's No. 2 centre.
Previous ranking: 2
3. John Tavares

Key stat: An excellent week individually with 2 goals and 5 points in 3 games
Tim says: The Islanders have slumped, but it's no fault of Tavares's.
Previous ranking: 4
  4. Corey Perry

Key stat: Rebounded with goal and assist vs. Carolina after a -4 rating in 2-game Florida swing
Tim says: He missed his sidekick Ryan Getzlaf, who missed 3 games with an injury.
Previous ranking: 4
5. Ryan Getzlaf

Key stat: He returned from injury and set up a Perry goal in first game back
Tim says: He's one of the premier playmakers.
Previous ranking: 7
  6. Patrice Bergeron

Key stat: He has a 4-game point streak that includes 2 GWGs
Tim says: His production has picked up and he remains one of the best faceoff men at 58.4%.
Previous ranking: 6
7. Matt Duchene

Key stat: Now injured, he had a goal in 3 games
Tim says: He's expected to miss a week with an oblique ailment.
Previous ranking: 5
  8. Logan Couture

Key stat: A goal and 3 points in 4 games
Tim says: A concern was how quiet he was against Chicago on Sunday.
Previous ranking: 8
  9. Eric Staal

Key stat: He's scored in back-to-back games.
Tim says: It's a good sign this talented forward is showing signs of emerging from early season slump.
Previous ranking: 9
  10. Martin St. Louis

Key stat:Without Stamkos, he managed a GWG and 4 points in 3 games
Tim says: St. Louis helped his team win 2 of 3 without sniper Stamkos last week.
Previous ranking: 10
11. Patrick Sharp

Key stat: He scored 3 times and added an assist in 3 games
Tim says: Sharp has continued his hot streak and is a strong candidate if Stamkos doesn't recover in time.
Previous ranking: 15
12. Tyler Seguin

Key stat: A 4-goal, 6-point game has people talking about his Olympic chances
Tim says: Is there a more on-fire player right now?
Previous ranking: 18
13. Mike Richards

Key stat: He added 2 more assists in 4 games.
Tim says: One of the game's top penalty killers, but does he have enough speed for the big ice?
Previous ranking: 14
14. Claude Giroux

Key stat: He checked in for 3 assists in 3 games
Tim says: Coming to life after an early-season funk.
Previous ranking: 11
15. Joe Thornton

Key stat: The league-leader in assists with 20 after 5 helpers in 4 games last week
Tim says: Still can't count him out because he can play a checking role if asked.
Previous ranking: 16
16. Jamie Benn

Key stat: A 6-point game vs. Calgary last week
Tim says: Has played more than 20 min in each of his 4 outings this week.
Previous ranking: NR
17. Jason Spezza

Key stat: With a goal and an assist, he helped rally Senators past the Bruins last Friday
Tim says: He needs more consistency in his game.
Previous ranking: 12
18. Taylor Hall

Key stat: He notched only 1 assist in 3 games
Tim says: He will need an incredible and productive six weeks to make the Olympic team.
Previous ranking: 13
  19. Rick Nash

Key stat: Looks like he will return either Tuesday or Thursday
Tim says: At least he's started skating again.
Previous ranking: 19
  20. Steven Stamkos

Key stat: Suffered a broken right tibia on Nov. 11 against Boston
Tim says: Canadian management confident Stamkos will recover in time.
Previous ranking: 20
Defencemen
1. Shea Weber

Key Stat: Weber's 5 goals put him second among Canadian defenceman (Phoenix's Michael Stone has 6)
Tim says: Despite a worrisome plus-minus of -8, Weber still dependable in both ends.
Previous ranking: 1
2. Drew Doughty

Key stat: In the absence of injured goalie Jonathan Quick, Doughty helps Kings produce 3 straight wins
Tim says: He has developed into a solid two-way defender who no longer is an adventure in his own end.
Previous ranking: 3
3. Duncan Keith

Key stat: Put a whopping 5 shots on goal in showdown with San Jose on Sunday
Tim says: The high-flying Hawks forwards get more attention, but Keith is key to team's success.
Previous ranking: 2
  4. Alex Pietrangelo

Key stat: Had 4 assists in 4 games last week
Tim says: What's not to like about this young man's game? He is so efficient in all three zones.
Previous ranking: 4
5. Jay Bouwmeester

Key stat: Picked up offence with 1 goal and 5 points in 4 games.
Tim says: He's such a nice skater, he will benefit from the big ice in Sochi.
Previous ranking: 7
6. Marc-Edouard Vlasic

Key stat: He doesn't have a point in 6 games, but steady in his own end.
Tim says: The underrated Vlasic finally gets some much-deserved attention.
Previous ranking: 5
7. P.K. Subban

Key stat: Pointless in 3 games but still leads all Canadian defenceman with 17 points
Tim says: Not sure his river-hockey type of game will gain him favour with Yzerman and management team.
Previous ranking: 6
8. Dan Boyle

Key stat: He scored a GWG vs. Vancouver and registered 3 points in 4 games
Tim says: He's recovered nicely from a concussion.
Previous ranking: 10
9. Brent Seabrook

Key stat: He was a +2 in a 5-4 shootout win against Phoenix last week
Tim says: He lost his spot on the Blackhawks first power-play unit.
Previous ranking: 8
10. Kristopher Letang

Key stat: He was a -3 in a loss to New Jersey on Saturday
Tim says: He still has time to round into form, but he's off to a slow start in his own end after injury.
Previous ranking: 9

Knocked off the list this week: Joffrey Lupul

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