Brodeur maintains model of consistency

Devils' goalie strives for same excellence in regular season and beyond

Wednesday, 03.26.2008 / 11:44 AM ET / Features
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Brodeur maintains model of consistency

Martin Brodeur says he takes a lot of pride in his remarkably durable career with the Devils.

by Dan Rosen | NHL.com Staff Writer

Martin Brodeur's gregarious personality, even on game days, makes him one of the rarest goalies in the world. However, the New Jersey Devils' future Hall of Famer has his one eccentricity, too.

Only, he bases his on consistency rather than quirkiness.

Before every game, Brodeur stacks his leg pads in front of his locker as he dresses. Seems pretty normal, but there is a message in his actions: Go about your own business, fellas, because Marty's got his area under control.

"It's hard to play a certain way when other people are not doing certain things or there is chaos going on somewhere," Brodeur said. "That's why when I get dressed I put my pads up and I'm like, nobody steps around here. This is all me. This is my crease and I'll take care of it. If you don't take care of what you do, don't worry because I'll still be taking care of this area."

Nobody takes care of business better.

Brodeur's career regular-season numbers – 534 wins, 96 shutouts, seven 40-win seasons – obviously are outstanding. However, with the playoffs looming we delved further and found the most staggering number of them all to define the unique consistency Brodeur has displayed since 1994.

He has appeared in 164 career playoff games, and if the tournament began today, the seven other projected starting goalies for Eastern Conference teams would have a combined 49 playoff appearances.

That's better than a 3-to-1 advantage for one player against a group of seven.

"That's why, in New Jersey, we have a chance every year," former Devils defenseman Ken Daneyko said. "It doesn't mean it's going to happen or Marty is going to be perfect, but certainly he's been the model of consistency."

Daneyko should know. Brodeur helped the gritty defenseman win three Stanley Cups before Daneyko retired in 2003.

"He's as important as three starting pitchers," Daneyko says. "You can even have 10 Wayne Gretzkys and five Bobby Orrs to play the point, but that doesn't mean you'll win if you don't have a good goalie."

Brodeur doesn't believe his experience is a factor early in the playoffs. Every goalie is excited and rejuvenated in the first round, and each organization does its best to limit any distractions.

The further the Devils go, though, the more Brodeur's experience matters.

Carolina's Cam Ward, who won the Stanley Cup in 2006, is the only other No. 1 goalie in the Eastern Conference playoff chase that knows what the postseason grind is all about. Martin Gerber experienced it with Ottawa last season, but he sat behind Ray Emery.

Being the No. 2 isn't taxing if the No. 1 is producing.

"The travel at the end, the media attention, the pressure, the family and friends – this is something that if you have never dealt with, it's overwhelming," Brodeur said. "It's an awesome time, don't get me wrong, but for an athlete, it's not an easy time."

Brodeur has reached the Stanley Cup Final four times in his career, winning three and going to a Game 7 in the other.

He believes his consistency is a result of his durability, which has been dumbfounding.

Since taking over as New Jersey's No. 1 goalie in the 1994-95 season, Brodeur has appeared in 88.7 percent of the Devils' regular-season games (908 of 1,023 entering this past weekend) and owns 90.3 percent of their victories (505 of 559). In the same time span, he has appeared in every one of the Devils' 146 playoff games and owns all 86 wins.

"Consistency in your play is one thing, but being durable is one of the things I take a lot of pride in," Brodeur said. "That goes with playing a lot of games and being focused on what you do, not just taking it for granted that this is going to happen.

"Patrick Roy was one of the most consistent goalies to ever play the game because he never got hurt, he played a lot of games and was successful year in and year out. He wasn't the best every year, but you know what? He was always in the top.

"As an athlete that's where you want to be. You want to be a factor every single season you play. Especially for a goalie, I think it's important that people around you feel that this is a controlled environment."

Brodeur said balance comes easily because he knows and understands his game better than anyone else. He doesn't rely on anyone – even long-time goalie coach Jacques Caron – for an honest assessment. And he rarely reads what people write about him.

"I look at certain things to judge my game and I'm really, really honest," Brodeur said. "For instance, take the Minnesota game (March 13). They scored the first two goals and they were two good goals, so nobody complained, but I know I wasn't doing the right thing when the puck came at me. I was moving forward, and when you're a goalie moving forward it's hard to react. I should have taken my time to stop before the shot came in.

"One of the best things I've done in my career is really to know my own game instead of having people tell me what I did right or what I did wrong."

As long as Brodeur keeps stacking his pads, the Devils have a chance.

"The guys in front of him believe that because they have that guy there, they have a shot," Daneyko said. "Is that an advantage? It has to be."




1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 252 192 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 221 189 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 262 211 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 242 203 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 252 230 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 235 221 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 238 215 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 221 210 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 213 211 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 206 223 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 236 250 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 215 234 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 181 216 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 188 226 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 211 262 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 161 274 54


A. Henrique 75 16 27 -6 43
M. Cammalleri 68 27 15 2 42
P. Elias 69 13 21 -20 34
S. Gomez 58 7 27 -10 34
S. Bernier 67 16 16 2 32
T. Zajac 74 11 14 -3 25
A. Larsson 64 3 21 2 24
A. Greene 82 3 19 1 22
E. Gelinas 61 6 13 -2 19
M. Ryder 47 6 13 -1 19
C. Schneider 26 31 9 .925 2.26
K. Kinkaid 6 5 4 .915 2.59