Penguins achieve big goal in signing Fleury

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Penguins achieve big goal in signing Fleury

The Pittsburgh Penguins signed the franchise’s all-time winningest goaltender to a four-year contract extension on Wednesday, local time, worth $23 million. The new deal starts next year and runs through the 2018-19 season.

“Just nice to get it over with, not think about it anymore and just go play some hockey and try to win some games,’’ said Marc-Andre Fleury. “Just focus on hockey and not anything else.’’

The 29-year-old Fleury was in the final season of a seven-year contract he signed in 2008. Fleury is off to a hot start for the Metropolitan Division-leading Penguins. He is 7-2 with a 1.89 goals against average and tied for the NHL lead with three shutouts heading into last night’s game in Winnipeg.

General Manager Jim Rutherford approached Fleury a month ago to begin the process, but stressed recently he believed in Fleury despite some struggles in recent years during the playoffs. Rutherford wanted to eliminate the potential distraction while he could.

“When a player is in the last year of his contract, especially an important player like Marc, you wonder if when you get closer to the end of the season if it’s in the back of his mind,’’ Rutherford said. “So we’re glad we got it cleared up.’’AP

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