Martin Brodeur: From winning to whining

(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

By Kristin Tullo (@K_Tullo)

Martin Brodeur has been a fan-favorite since he entered the doors of Brendan Byrne Arena nearly 20 years ago, when he still sported a mustache and blonde hair that could make even Zack Morris jealous.

But now in the twilight of his career, where he seems to have lost a bit of the control he always had on his minutes with the New Jersey Devils, the winningest goaltender to ever strap on the pads in the NHL has everyone’s attention, including thats of  New York Islanders legend and Hall of Famer, Denis Potvin. 

This time though, the attention is not because of a new broken record or achievement, but rather something we haven’t seen from Brodeur throughout the rest of his long NHL career- his lack of happiness in the way things have gone for him in New Jersey this season.

“It’s one thing when you get into a situation and they tell you exactly what is going to happen,” Brodeur said as quoted by Rich Chere of The Star-Ledger. “ I’m not saying I was promised anything but I definitely was not promised that, to sit back whenever games counted throughout the year.”

Maybe it was miscommunication or maybe it was Brodeur assuming that this year would be the same as every other that he has dressed for the Devils, but if the soon-to-be 42-year-old really believed Lou Lamoriello traded away the ninth-overall draft pick last June so that Cory Schneider could ride the pine all season, he was sorely mistaken.

The truth is, Brodeur actually got more than his fair share of playing time.

Despite Brodeur’s below-average numbers, and Schneider’s third-ranked goals against average (1.97), the three-time Stanley Cup Champion is sour over his 37 starts where he went 18-14-5 with a .900 save percentage and a 2.54 goals against average.

Enter: Denis Potvin.

 (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

“ I don’t know how many backup goaltenders in the NHL have started 37 (games),” Potvin told Rich Chere of The Star-Ledger.

“I don’t know enough about his personal life, but don’t go looking at your coach, your GM or the other goaltender or things around you,” Potvin commented. “ It’s pretty obvious to me and everyone in the league that when Cory Schneider shows up, somebody is going to take a bit of a back seat.”

Bingo!

When the Devils traded their first round pick at the 2013 NHL Draft in exchange for Cory Schneider, who at the time played for the Vancouver Canucks, the thought that Schneider would be a perfect 20-game back-up for Brodeur shouldn’t have run through the minds of anyone.

Apparently though, it did.
Many can, and have, argued that Brodeur’s comments down to the last week of the season were an unnecessary distraction. And I’d be inclined to agree.

Of course, there are also those that will blame the media for asking the questions to begin with. But when have you ever known any member of the Devils organization to appease the media by answering a question that they didn’t want to answer?

A simple, “I just want to finish my season here and then worry about what happens after that when I have to,” would have been good enough.

Instead, we heard where he could go, where he would want to go, and everything in between. All while the Devils continued to lose and fall in the standings.

Brodeur will be a free agent on July 1 and plans to play for at least another season, and he hasn’t ruled out that it could be another stint in New Jersey. This time around, he just wants the facts.

“The situation I’m going to get myself in is something I’m going to be okay with. So if you see me here next year, it’s because I’m okay to be sharing the net or doing whatever I’m told,” Brodeur said earlier this week.

It’s hard to imagine how many teams would be looking to add a veteran goalie (even if his name is Martin Brodeur) come July, but wherever it is he lands, I hope he keeps his word. Especially if that landing spot happens to be right here in New Jersey once again.

As happy and privileged as New Jersey fans have felt to watch one of the greatest to play the game night after night, it’s about the team now. And Brodeur, as much as he done for the organization, is about to wear out his welcome.

The Devils need more winning, and less whining.

New Jersey opens up the first of two home-games remaining on their schedule when they host the Islanders tonight before closing out another disappointing season on Sunday against the visiting Boston Bruins.

There’s no word yet on who will get the next two starts, but whatever game Brodeur does start could be his last in red, black and white.

Unless of course, he heads to Ottawa.

One Response to Martin Brodeur: From winning to whining

  1. Pingback: NHL Rundown: Brodeur 'unlikely' to return to Devils, | The Hockey Guys

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