Did Martin Brodeur go out in style?; games to watch; more notes

Tuesday December 30th, 2014
 
As far as press releases go, the notice from the Blues that goaltender Brian Elliott was activated from injured reserve this morning was pretty much boilerplate. All the usual stuff was there: games missed (14), his record this season (8-4-1 with a league-leading 1.82 GAA and a .931 save percentage).

But it completely skipped over the heart of the matter: Elliott’s return likely signals the end of the line for Martin Brodeur.

You know how the math goes. One goalie in a game. Two goalies in practice. Three goalies can work for a few days, but beyond that? It gets a bit crowded.

Brodeur won’t have to pack his bag quite yet, though. It makes no sense to rush him out the door, what with Elliott needing to prove that the knee that sidelined him is up to the physical rigors of game action. 

If it is, though, and this really is the end for Brodeur, well, at least he went out in style. He picked up his 125th career shutout—extending his NHL record—in a 3–0 win over the Avalanche on Monday night. Having to make just 16 saves didn’t make it the most challenging outing of his career, but no one will remember that. Ted Williams walked away from baseball having hit a home run in his final career at-bat in 1960. No one cares how far it went. Just that it left the yard. It was the exclamation point that his Hall of Fame career deserved, just as the shutout would be for Brodeur

“I’m enjoying every moment of it,” Brodeur told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch after Monday night’s win. “Whenever the decision will be made, hopefully I’ll be the first to know, and I’ll be happy or disappointed one way or the other.” 

You can that tell Brodeur's not ready to hang ’em up just yet, especially since he’s just nine wins shy of 700, but he understands and appreciates the chance he was given in St. Louis. It was a limited time offer and the clock ran out with the return of Elliott. 

There may be another opportunity out there tomorrow or next week or next month, but as Brodeur told Blues beat writer Jeremy Rutherford, “[playing for somebody else would] be another big change and one big change a year is enough for me.”

So if this is it, OK. Brodeur e got his chance to prove to himself and to his many doubters that he still has it.

“It’s been a great ride,” he said. “If that’s my last game, it’s not a bad one to leave on.” 

Nope. Not bad at all.

What to watch tonight

Canadiens at Panthers (7:30 p.m. EST; RDS, SNE, FS-F)

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SI's zaniest hockey moments of 2014

• Carey Price is now the first Canadiens goalie with at least 20 wins in his first 30 games of a season since Denis Herron went 23-3-1 through his first 30 appearances of 1979–80.

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