Off The Draw
With Martin Brodeur making his retirement as a player official today, now’s the perfect time to look back on some of the unforgettable moments from his standout career. It’s tough to narrow the list down to just 10, but these are our favorites. Miss one of yours? Leave it in the comments below.
10. “Fatso there forgot to shake my hand.”
The rivalry between Brodeur and Rangers pest Sean Avery was never more entertaining than during the 2008 playoffs. Avery had a solid series, scoring three goals and adding two assists, but it was his “inventive” disruptive tactics—waving his arms in Brodeur’s face—that really got the goaltender’s goat. Following the Devils’ five-game series loss, Brodeur kept his arms at his sides in the handshake line, prompting a memorable retort from Avery.
9. Winning his first Vezina Trophy.
On June 12, 2003, Brodeur, who was already a three-time Stanley Cup winner, finally captured the individual honor that had eluded him during the course of his first nine full NHL seasons. He would go on to win three of the next four Vezinas to cement his standing as one of the greatest goaltenders of his generation, if not the greatest.
8. Scoring his third career goal.
Just four minutes into the first period in a March 21, 2013, game against the Hurricanes, Brodeur made a seemingly meaningless stop. But New Jersey drew a penalty on the play and Carolina goalie Dan Ellis left his net for an extra attacker. Moments later, the Hurricanes botched a pass that sailed the length of the ice and into the empty net. As the last Devils player to touch the puck, Brodeur got credit for the goal and became the second NHL netminder, after the Sharks’ Evgeni Nabokov, to be credited with a power play goal. It was the third goal of Brodeur’s career, moving him one past Ron Hextall for the all-time lead among goalies. Brodeur also had 58 assists during his career, and finished with 61 points.
7. The Scorpion Save.
It might not have been the most amazing or the most important stop of Brodeur’s career, but it might be his most memorable—a flat-on-his-belly desperation kick save on the Rangers’ Marian Gaborik in the 2012 Eastern Conference finals. Try to watch it just once.
6. Scoring a playoff goal.
Nothing cheap about this one.With New Jersey holding a 4–3 lead over the Canadiens late in Game 1 of the 1997 Eastern Conference quarterfinals, Brodeur corralled a dump-in, took aim and fired a shot the length of the ice. The puck slid into Montreal’s empty net with 44.6 seconds remaining in regulation, making Brodeur just the second netminder (Hextall was the first, in 1989) to score a goal in postseason play.
5. The 2003 playoffs.
This might have been the finest stretch of his storied career. Over the course of 24 postseason games, Brodeur earned the maximum 16 wins to guide the Devils to their third Stanley Cup title. Amazingly, seven of his victories were shutouts, including three in the finals. The last one, which set a new league record, was the most timely—a 24-save gem in a 3–0 triumph over the Anaheim Ducks in Game 7.
4. Breaking the all-time shutout record.
Terry Sawchuk’s mark of 103 career shutouts stood unchallenged for 45 years until Brodeur erased it from the books on Dec. 21, 2009, with a 35-save effort in New Jersey’s 4–0 win over the Penguins. “When you do break records and you see how long they’ve lasted, it’s pretty cool,” he said at the time. “It’s a great honor for me to be in that position.”
Brodeur eventually padded his total with 22 more donuts, including a 3–0 shutout of the Avalanche on Dec. 29, 2014. His record of 125 could stand for another 45 years. Roberto Luongo (68) is has the most shutouts among active goalies.
3. Winning his first Stanley Cup.
This one was a shocker, and not just for the ease with which the Devils won it—they went 16–4 in the postseason—but also for how handily they defeated the heavily favored Red Wings in the 1995 Cup finals. Brodeur was splendid in the four-game sweep, never allowing more than two goals to a powerhouse Detroit team.
2. Setting the all-time wins record.
For a competitor like Brodeur, this stands as his ultimate and most meaningful legacy. Win number 552 to surpass Patrick Roy didn’t come easy, requiring a flashy pad save on Troy Brouwer with four seconds left to preserve a 3–2 victory over the Blackhawks on Mar. 17, 2009. “It was an exciting night,” Brodeur said after his 30-save effort. “I’m happy that it’s done and over with. It’s been chaotic, the last few days. It was an awesome night. It was a great reception from the fans.” He went on to win another 139 times, setting a standard that’s unlikely to be matched in his lifetime.
1. Winning Olympic gold in 2002.
Despite being a two-time Cup winner, Brodeur started the 2002 Olympic tournament on the bench as Curtis Joseph’s backup. That changed after Canada was thrashed 5–2 in the opener by Sweden. Brodeur stepped in and was magnificent the rest of the way, helping Canada end a 50-year gold-medal drought at the Winter Games. He was at his best in the finale, stopping 31 shots to backstop Canada to a 5–2 win over the U.S.
GALLERY: Martin Brodeur Through The Years
Martin Brodeur Through the Years
Goaltending came naturally to Brodeur, whose father, Denis, played the position on the Canadian Olympic team that won the bronze medal in 1956. Raised in Montreal, Martin played forward as a kid—sewing the seeds of the stickhandling skills that would serve him so well in the NHL—before switching to goal at age seven. Though he idolized butterfly master Patrick Roy, Brodeur chose a standup style and developed superb mobility, instincts, positioning and puck-handling ability.
Drafted out of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League by the Devils with the 20th pick in the 1990 draft, Brodeur made his NHL debut on March 26, 1992, with 24 saves in a 4-2 win over Boston.
After a full season in the AHL, Brodeur was added to the Devils' opening night roster for the 1993-94 season and went on to win the Calder Trophy as Rookie of the Year with a 27-11-8 record, 2.40 GAA and three shutouts, the first of his career coming on Oct. 20, 1993 vs. Anaheim.
As the Devils' new starting goalie, Brodeur played in 40 of their 48 games during the lockout-shortened 1994-95 season, going 19-11-6 with a 2.44 GAA. He was brilliant in the playoffs, holding Detroit to only seven goals in four finals games as the Devils won their first Stanley Cup.
During the 1995-96 season, Brodeur went 34-30-12 with a 2.34 GAA and .911 save percentage, beginning a record streak of 12 consecutive seasons of 30 or more wins, a run that included seven with 40 or more.
Blessed with a stifling defense in front of him, Brodeur led the NHL with a 1.88 GAA in 1996-97—becoming the first goaltender with a sub-1.90 since Bernie Parent of the Flyers in 1973-74. He also became the first since Montreal's Ken Dryden in 1976-77 to record 10 shutouts in a season.
In Game 1 of the 1997 Eastern quarterfinals vs. Montreal, Brodeur joined Philadelphia's Ron Hextall as the only goaltenders to score in the postseason by shooting the puck into the net. Brodeur's prowess with the stick and fondness for roaming from his crease to play the puck led to the current "Brodeur Rule" that confines such activity by goalies to a trapezoid that is eight feet out from each goal post and 28 feet wide at the boards behind the net.
In 1997-98, Brodeur led the NHL with 43 wins and posted 10 shutouts for the second straight season. He also became only the third goaltender (along with Hall of Famers Terry Sawchuk and Harry Lumley) to have back-to-back sub-2.00 GAA campaigns.
Again leading the NHL with 43 wins in 1999-2000 and tying Bernie Parent's combined mark of 59 combined regular- and postseason victories, Brodeur backstopped the Devils to their second Stanley Cup, which they won by beating the Dallas Stars in six games.
Seeking a repeat, Brodeur faced his childhood hero Patrick Roy in a memorable 2001 Stanley Cup Final, won by Colorado in seven games after the Avalanche rose from a three-games-to-two deficit. Roy denied the Devils a chance to win the Cup on home ice with a 4-0 win in Game 6, then completed the comeback with a 3-1 win in Colorado.
Leading the NHL with 73 appearances in 2001-02, Brodeur became the third-fastest goaltender to reach 300 career wins when he beat Ottawa 2-0 on Dec. 15, 2001.
Like his father, Martin has represented Canada in international play, most notably winning the gold medal at the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City after posting a 4-0-1 mark with a 1.80 GAA in the tournament. It was the second of his four Olympic stints (he did not see action in 1998). He was also a member of Canada's 1996 and 2005 World Championship teams and '97 and '05 World Cup teams.
Brodeur, seen here with sons Jeremy, Anthony and William, won his first Vezina Trophy for a 2002-03 campaign in which he became the first NHL netminder to have four 40-win seasons (surpassing Sawchuk and Jacques Plante). He was a complete miser in the postseason, setting an NHL mark of seven shutouts, including three vs. Anaheim in the finals, as the Devils won their third Stanley Cup.
Setting a single-season record of 48 wins in 2006-07, Brodeur won his third Vezina while also posting 12 shutouts.
On Nov. 17, 2007, Brodeur beat Philadelphia 6-2 to join Patrick Roy as the only members of the NHL's 500-wins club. His overall mark of 44-27-0-6, 2.17 GAA and four shutouts earned him his fourth Vezina in five seasons.
Again playing a role in the creation of a rule, Brodeur saw his rivalry with Sean Avery bubble over in Game 3 of the 2008 Eastern quarterfinal when the Rangers agitator stood waving his stick in the goaltender's face—this after Avery's two interference penalties in the series. The NHL was moved to instantly invoke an "Avery Rule" prohibiting such antics. After the Rangers eliminated the Devils in five games, Brodeur snubbed Avery in the handshake line, leading Avery to famously remark "I guess fatso forgot to shake my hand."
With anticipation building for his assault on Roy's career wins mark, Brodeur suffered a tear of the biceps tendon in his left elbow on Nov. 1, 2008, ending his streak of 70-plus-game seasons at 10. Returning to action on Feb. 26, 2009, he picked up where he left off with a 4-0 shutout of Colorado in which he made 24 saves.
Brodeur joined Patrick Roy atop the NHL's victories list with a 3-1 win over the Canadiens on March 14, 2009. The night was made even sweeter because it came in Montreal, with his father (pictured w/camera) and Roy looking on, the banner bearing the former Canadien's recently-retired number (33) hanging over him, and the sell-out crowd chanting Brodeur's name.
Brodeur broke Patrick Roy's career record for goaltending victories, picking up his 552nd by turning back 30 shots in a 3-2 win over the Chicago Blackhawks on March 17, 2009. The victory came in Brodeur's 987th game of a 22-year career he played almost entirely with the Devils. In the spirit of March Madness, Brodeur took out a pair of scissors and cut the net. ''It's definitely harder than I thought,'' he quipped. ''These basketball players, it's only a little net. This was a big net. I had help from a couple of my teammates.''
On December 12, 2009 Brodeur reached yet another milestone when he shuts out Penguins 4-0, breaking Terry Sawchuk’s career NHL shutout record of 103. Nine days later the Devils legend blanked the Pens yet again to shatter George Hainsworth’s pro record of 104 pails of whitewash.
By blanking the Thrashers 3-0 at the Philips Center in Atlanta on April 6, 2010, Brodeur became the first NHL goalie to reach the 600-wins mark. The victory, his league-leading 43rd of the season, also extended his career shutout mark to 110.
Coming off his 14th and final 30-win regular season, Brodeur blanked the Florida Panthers, 4-0, in Game 4 the 2012 Eastern Conference quarterfinals on April 19 to break Patrick Roy's career postseason shutout mark (23) and become only the second goaltender to reach 100 playoff wins.
On May 25, 2012, the Devils beat the Rangers 3–2 thanks to Adam Henrique's goal in overtime, sending Brodeur to his fifth Stanley Cup finals appearance. New Jersey lost to the Los Angeles Kings in six games in what would turn out to be the 17th and final postseason of his career.
After missing a month of action due to a nerve injury in his back, Brodeur returned to the net on March 21, 2013 with some of his old stick magic, scoring a power play goal against the Carolina Hurricanes that made him the only NHL goalie to record three career tallies, and the second after Evgeni Nabokov of the Sharks to light the lamp with the man advantage.
After defeating Blue Jackets goalkeeper Sergei Bobrovsky in an online vote in June 2013, Brodeur won the honor of being the cover athlete on EA's NHL 14 video game.
After the Devils acquired the 208th pick in the 2013 NHL Draft from the Kings, Brodeur was given the very special privilege of making the announcement that New Jersey had selected his son, Anthony, 18, a goalie out of Minnesota's Shattuck-St. Mary's prep school, in the seventh and final round.
Unsigned as a free agent, Brodeur inked a one-year, $700,000 deal with the injury-plagued St. Louis Blues on Dec. 2, 2014. He concluded his legendary career with seven appearances, a 3-3-0 record, .899 save percentage and 2.87 GAA. On Jan. 29, 2015, he announced his retirement as the NHL's all-time leader in games played by a goalie (1,266), saves (28,928), wins (691), shutouts (125), and playoff shutouts (24).
What to watch tonight
After demanding a trade out of town last summer, Spezza might find the reception tonight to be a bit chilly.
“[Ottawa] fans are passionate, so I hope I’m remembered as giving my all and having some success here, but I expect them to support the [Senators] too,” he said on Wednesday. “They’ve always supported the club, but hopefully they appreciate I gave everything when I was here and tried to do all I could to help us win.”
Dallas could really use some help from Spezza. After losing on Tuesday night in Montreal, the Stars have fallen six points (and five wins) off the playoff pace in the West. They’ll need a big effort from Spezza, who has one goal and six points in his last five games, to avoid falling into a deeper hole.
Years from now, we may look back at this little Thursday night trifle as the most important game of the season. Call it the Integrity Bowl, a game in which everyone knows that the loser is really the winner. Buffalo is last in the NHL, meaning that the Sabres are in the Connor McDavid catbird seat, but a win tonight would move them ahead of Edmonton via the tiebreaker. An Oilers victory would them a four-point cushion that Buffalo, loser of 12 straight games in regulation, may never be able to make up. It might be lousy hockey, but it’ll also be fascinating theater.
Rest of the schedule:Bruins at Islanders (7 p.m. EST; TVA, SN360, SNO, SNP, NESN, MSG+); Canadiens at Rangers (7 p.m. EST; NBCSN, RDS, SNE, MSG); Jets at Flyers (7 p.m. EST; TSN3, CSN-PH); Coyotes at Maple Leafs (7:30 p.m. EST; FS-A, TSN4); Red Wings at Lightning (7:30 p.m. EST; FS-D+, SUN); Blue Jackets at Panthers (7:30 p.m. EST; FS-O, FS-F); Predators at Blues (8 p.m. EST; FS-TN, FS-MW); Wild at Flames (9 p.m. EST; FS-N, SNW); Ducks at Sharks (10 p.m. EST; NBCSN, SN360)
What you missed
• A minor league team's $1 beer night led to some spontaneous architecture.
• Arizona is expected to be a seller at the March 2 trade deadline.
The numbers game
• Alex Ovechkin’s 93 career multigoal games tie the winger with Peter Bondra for Washington’s franchise mark. Among active NHL players with multigoal games, Ovi’s closest pursuers are Jarome Iginla (66), Sidney Crosby (59) and Rick Nash (53).
• Iginla needs two goals to tie Mark Recchi for 19th on the alltime list, with 577. Iginla needs just one point to reach 1,200 for his career.
• The Kings have equaled their single season franchise mark, set in 1980–81 and tied in ’90–91, for the most points (38) earned through their first 28 games on home ice.
• The Sutter family is about to gain an amazing son-in-law. If you need a pick me up after following the previous link, Dylan Tait’s story will do it.
• KHL expansion team HC Sochi is keeping hockey alive in sub-tropical Russia one year after the Winter Olympics.
• The bad news just keeps coming for TSN, which learned on Wednesday night that it had lost a bidding war for the rights to broadcast the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.