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Brodeur: 'I play to help my team win'

Devils goalie delivers fourth Vezina season, looks toward 2008-09

Friday, 06.13.2008 / 7:22 AM ET / News
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Brodeur: \'I play to help my team win\'

New Jersey's Martin Brodeur was voted the NHL's top goaltender for the fourth time in the past five seasons. Brodeur edged San Jose's Evgeni Nabokov to win the Vezina Trophy.
WATCH Martin Brodeur in action
TORONTO — There was a time when New Jersey goalie Martin Brodeur wondered what it would take to finally catch up with one of the NHL's legendary goaltenders — Dominik Hasek — in the voting for the Vezina Trophy.

These days, NHL goalies are wondering the same thing about him.

Brodeur, who finished second to Hasek in the voting as the League's top goaltender in 1997 and '98, was awarded his fourth Vezina Trophy in five seasons during the 2008 NHL Awards Show at the Elgin Theatre on Thursday night.

After establishing an NHL record with 48 victories in 2006-07, Brodeur's mastery between the pipes continued for the New Jersey Devils this season.

Brodeur finished with a 44-27-6 won-lost record — extending his own NHL mark with his seventh career 40-win season — along with a 2.17 goals-against average, a .920 save percentage and four shutouts. He was first in minutes played with 4,635, second in victories and fifth in goals-against average. Brodeur became just the second goaltender in NHL history to reach the 500-victory mark and concluded the season with 96 career shutouts, seven shy of all-time leader Terry Sawchuk. He has 538 career wins in 968 games, trailing only Patrick Roy, who won 551 times in 1,029 games.

Amazingly, while Brodeur has registered three straight seasons of 40 wins, no one else in League history has had more than three, including Hasek. Brodeur hopes to break the records of Sawchuk and Roy in 2008-09 and establish new standards for the next generation of goaltenders.

"Hopefully, (breaking the records) will happen more sooner than later, so we can put it to rest, move on and raise the bar for the next guy," Brodeur said. "But I'm just happy that I'm able to play at the level that I like to play. I realize the records I'm approaching are something to be recognized, that's for sure, but I don't play for these things — I play to help my team win a Stanley Cup."

The grind of playing 77 games, the second-highest total of his career, never got the best of Brodeur.

"I think the lockout (2004-05) actually helped me, in a way," Brodeur said. "It gave me some time off. The coaches are always managing my practice time really well, and even though having a new coach (Brent Sutter) was a little adjustment, it really worked out very well. This is a good time for me in New Jersey, but this is still about winning championships and we hope to rebound after losing to the Rangers in the first round of the Playoffs this season."

Brodeur won back-to-back Vezinas for the second time in his 14-season career, beating out fellow finalists Evgeni Nabokov of San Jose and Henrik Lundqvist of the Rangers. In the closest race among all the awards presented Thursday night, Brodeur edged Nabokov, 113-106. Nabokov, however, was named to the First All-Stars Team, while Brodeur earned Second Team honors. The Vezina is voted on by the League’s 30 general managers; the All-Star teams are voted by members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association.

"It's nice to go out and work as hard as you can, wanting to have an impact for your team and give them a better chance to win every night, and when people recognize you with this type of honor, it’s fantastic," Brodeur said. "I sat behind Dominik Hasek for many years and I used to think, 'Wow, he must be something special.' Now I'm doing it to a certain extent, but I know all these young goalies are coming up and are all right there, so it's only a matter of time. But we’ll cherish these for now, that’s for sure."

Hasek, who announced his retirement from hockey earlier this week, won six Vezinas in 15 NHL seasons.

Said Sutter: "At the end of the day, we were where were at because of Marty. He played extremely well for us this year. He played outstanding from the end of October on. He was a big answer why we had the success we had."

This might have been the most challenging season for Brodeur because the Devils ranked a dismal 27th in the League in offense, averaging just 2.42 goals per game. Yet the 36-year-old never relinquished his stranglehold as the League's best at his position.

"It was a tough year, especially at the start," Brodeur said. "We did play down the stretch to get ourselves into the playoffs, but it's tough to compare teams from year to year. Our club struggled in some areas and it was a lot different than in previous seasons, but the past is what it is. I was very happy with the way I played throughout the season."

Brodeur is optimistic the Devils will rebound next season.

"That's the beauty about playing in New Jersey; you always know you have a chance,"  Brodeur said. "We've made the Playoffs so many years in a row, and that's quite an accomplishment. I do feel we were a good team, but just ran out of gas in the end this season. Regardless of the reasons why we struggled, we do have higher powers in our organization who I'm sure will make the right decisions. I have tons of faith in them to do it for us to be successful, whether that comes through trades, free agency or guys coming up through the system."

Author: Mike G. Morreale | NHL.com Staff Writer

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
K. Palmieri 82 30 27 3 57
A. Henrique 80 30 20 10 50
T. Zajac 74 14 28 3 42
M. Cammalleri 42 14 24 15 38
D. Severson 72 1 20 -8 21
R. Boucher 39 8 11 -13 19
D. Schlemko 67 6 13 -22 19
J. Moore 73 4 15 -12 19
A. Larsson 82 3 15 15 18
J. Blandisi 41 5 12 -14 17
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Schneider 27 25 6 .924 2.15
K. Kinkaid 9 9 1 .904 2.81
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