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Martin Brodeur a part-time starting goalie? It could happen

Days have been pretty dark in New Jersey all season long, but today serves to be the wake-up call that times are changing in Newark and that franchise icons don’t always shine forever. Martin Brodeur was chased from his last start against Carolina after just eight minutes giving up three goals on seven shots. Johan Hedberg started the next game against Atlanta, a 3-1 Devils win.

The Devils today said that Hedberg would get the start once again against the Wild tomorrow night, and if you think this is a stunning turn of events you’d be right. Martin Brodeur isn’t injured nor is he playing hurt and if you’re curious about what the future hall of famer thinks of this, his thoughts are rather telling as Rich Chere of The Star-Ledger finds out.

Does Brodeur feel he’s reached that point in his career where he will share the goaltending?

“I think in a season like this probably. In a different season, maybe not,” Brodeur said. “We’ll see how it goes.

“I like to play a lot and that will never change. But it’s got to be fun for me to play hockey. Not winning is not fun. So if we get back to winning I’ll play more. I don’t deserve to be in there when you don’t win. That’s the bottom line. I’ve been winning all my career and now it’s been a little tougher. So it’s normal. If this works, good. It helps out the team.”

Brodeur has always been a team guy and it’s not as if he’s ever had to beg to start a game. Throughout his career, Brodeur has been a workhorse in goal, sometimes playing upwards of 70 games in a regular season, including last year when he played in 77 games. Seven times in his career Brodeur has lead the league in minutes played. For years fans and media alike have clamored for Brodeur to get more of a break to have him better prepared for the playoffs.

The not-so secret facts behind this move for the time being are simple: Brodeur has been a very average goalie. While the defensive corps in front of him have been a mix of very young and very mediocre guys, Brodeur hasn’t been able to help bail them out the way he used to. While Brodeur’s record is poor, his personal stats are alarming. A goals against average of 3.15 is like something out of the 1980s and his .882 save percentage is downright poor. This isn’t the same Brodeur we’re accustomed to seeing and this time, we might just have to accept that he getting older, a truth that some fans might be a bit sad about realizing.

For now though, Jacques Lemaire is riding the hot hand to try and spark his bumbling and inconsistent team. If that’s what it takes to get the Devils playing well again and reinvigorate Brodeur’s season, then it’s not the worst move that could be made. If it turns out to be the first sign that Marty Brodeur is about to turn into an old goalie in front of our eyes, then this is a downer. Whether you’ve appreciated his career or not, there are zero doubts about how great he’s been over his career and seeing a legend on the downside of their career isn’t quite as fun.

Fight video: Zack Kassian racks up penalty minutes, faces Brian Strait

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Pulling Anders Nilsson didn’t stop the bleeding for the Edmonton Oilers. Instead, it really just spread the “wealth.”

The New York Islanders are up 7-1, so don’t be surprised if there’s some ugly stuff in the final frame.

Zack Kassian is an author of at least one outburst, as he was tagged with 19 penalty minutes for a display that included fighting Brian Strait, as you can see in the video above.

It’s not the only fight stemming from the blowout, either, as Eric Gryba just tangled with Matt Martin.

Could there be more?

Isles chase Nilsson from Oilers’ net in less than 12 minutes

Edmonton Oilers goalie Anders Nilsson, of Sweden, makes pad save against the Colorado Avalanche during the first period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Dec. 19, 2015, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
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There was a time when Anders Nilsson seemed like the best bet in the Oilers’ net this season. This … is not that time.

Less than 12 minutes into Sunday’s game, the New York Islanders roared to a 3-0 lead, and that was enough for Edmonton to give Nilsson the hook.

He allowed those three goals on 10 shots, so to be fair, that’s a pretty impressive chunk of chances (almost a shot on goal per minute).

Still, the Oilers were likely hoping to give Cam Talbot a breather, and instead he was rushed into action. Nilsson hadn’t played since Jan. 19, and he’s only appeared in three games in 2016.

As if this didn’t sting enough for Nilsson, consider the fact that he began his NHL career with the Islanders, who eventually decided he wasn’t worth keeping.

Ovi scores 30th as Caps beat Flyers for third straight victory

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Alex Ovechkin scored to join Wayne Gretzky and Mike Gartner as only players with at least 30 goals in each of their first 11 NHL seasons, and Matt Niskanen netted the game winner as Washington beat the Flyers 3-2 at Verizon on Super Bowl Sunday.

Michael Del Zotto and Nick Schultz replied for the Flyers, who suffered their second straight loss.

The win was the Capitals’ third in a row.

It didn’t always look as though Washington would emerge the victor, however. The Caps were out-shot 35-30 on the day and looked disjointed at times, finishing with 12 giveaways (Philly was credited with just five, for comparison’s sake).

But good teams find ways to win when they’re not playing especially well, and the Caps are a pretty good team — especially when Braden Holtby is on his game.

Holtby, atop many Vezina lists at the moment, had another terrific outing on Sunday, making 33 saves, perhaps none better than this one on Mark Streit in the second period:

Holtby’s counterpart, Steve Mason, had a solid outing as well, finishing with 27 stops.

Looking ahead, the Caps will now head out on a three-game Western Conference swing through Minnesota, Nashville and what promises to be a high-octane game in Dallas on Feb. 13.

The Flyers, meanwhile, will now kick off a three-game homestand against Anaheim, Buffalo and New Jersey.

 

Jets’ Stafford to have disciplinary hearing after high-sticking Holden

Colorado Avalanche's Nick Holden (2) hits Winnipeg Jets' Mathieu Perreault (85) during first period NHL hockey action in Winnipeg, Monday, Jan. 18, 2016. (Trevor Hagan/The Canadian Press via AP)
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Winnipeg forward Drew Stafford will meet with the NHL’s Department of Player Safety for his high stick on Colorado’s Nick Holden on Saturday night, the DoPS announced this afternoon.

There was no immediate video of the incident available. Stafford wasn’t penalized on the play, which occurred during the third period; Holden finished the final frame with 10 shifts for 6:46 of ice time.

Stafford, 30, has a clean disciplinary history and hasn’t been fined or suspended during his 10-year NHL career.