A lot for Brodeur to consider in 2011-12
Brodeur going with a reboot of his original Devils design. (New Jersey Devils)
As he enters the final year of his contract, the NHL’s all-time wins leader with 625 indicated Friday he's already considering the next step in his playing future.
“Whenever I’m going to be ready to make a decision, I’ll make a decision,” Brodeur said. “It doesn’t mean it’s going to be now, it doesn’t mean it’s going to be in the middle of the season, it doesn’t mean it’s going to be at the end. I’ll listen to everything, but it’s going to be what I’m at peace with when the time comes.”
The Devils’ early struggles last year were enough of a challenge before Brodeur injured his right elbow in November. Even a 15-2-1 run from Jan. 9 to March 15 couldn’t prevent the first sub-.500 finish of his career. He ended the season 23-26-3 with six shutouts.
“When you get to my age, there’s a lot of different things to take under consideration,” he said. “It’s not just playing hockey to play hockey, it’s a way of life and you want to be happy to play hockey. Your family has to be OK with it. My kids are gone from the house now, they’re in class playing hockey and doing all different things, so everything has to be considered when you make decisions like that.”
The 39-year-old has reached out to players familiar with the process.
“I’ve talked to a lot of guys that retired just to see how it feels because I know I’m coming close to it, so I want to make sure I make the right decision and won’t regret it either,” he explained. “I don’t want to jump the gun too quick then regret it a year [later].”
Brodeur sounded eager to see what the team's style will be under new head coach Peter DeBoer. Though a coach determines forward lines and defensive pairings, his on-ice system can also impact the goaltender.
“Style of play will always affect a goalie, there’s no doubt about that,” Brodeur said. “I think what’s good about having a coach that seems to be organized, that means you’re going to know what’s going to happen [on the ice]. For me, when Jacques [Lemaire] came in, I knew exactly where my chances would come from. It stabilized the way you played, and you knew what to expect more.”
He acknowledged that he’ll soon pass the torch to the Devils’ next generation, but until then he’s sticking with the game as long as it feels right.
“It’s not about what kind of team that I have, it’s about how I feel about playing the game that will make my decision one way or the other,” he said. “I trust that Lou’s [Devils’ President/CEO/GM Lamoriello] going to put a team together that’s going to be competitive. For me, Zach [Parise] and Kovy [Ilya Kovalchuk] they’re the franchise now. I was tied with Scotty [Stevens] and Nieder [Scott Niedermayer] for a lot of years, but I know there’s a turnaround and these guys, it’s time for them.”
|Brodeur's new tools. (New Jersey Devils)|
Brodeur is going back to a mask design featuring the stylized “J” that he used through most of his career. His catching glove and blocker will sport a retro design, while his pads were kept simple to match.
“I had about 40 different kinds of pads to choose from,” he said. “They get the computer, these guys, and it was tough because most of them [the designs] were similar and I just came in with something that’s the most simple as possible. I really like the blocker they made, it’s old school. I wanted to try and match with something that fit with it."