WINNIPEG, Manitoba -- I'd never seen Marc-Andre Fleury so furious.
No, not Wednesday, of course. If anything, he was the same impish Flower we've known forever upon the Penguins signing their franchise goaltender to a four-year, $23 million extension minutes before taking the ice at MTS Centre for practice. He was poking teammates playfully as they'd pass through his crease, shouting jokes the length of the rink, the whole deal.
And why not?
In addition to all that bonus wealth, he also had peace of mind. No longer is there a chance he'll leave through free agency at the end of his current contract that expires next summer. No longer is there a chance that he'll pull on any sweater than the only one he's known in the NHL. And maybe most important, no longer is there any doubt that the men who are his teammates as well as those running the operation -- all the way up to Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle -- believe in him.
Now, he knows.
"It's a good feeling," Fleury said after that practice, surrounded by cameras and microphones at his stall. "I've been with this team so long, known some of these players so long ... it feels like home."