Shortly after Martin Brodeur won his 15th game with an emotional 4-3 shootout victory over the Rangers, New Jersey head coach Peter DeBoer said it wouldn’t be long before Brodeur had a chance for win No. 16.
And then 17.
And then 18.
And so on…and so forth.
“As long as the schedule allows, we’re going to load him up with games,” DeBoer told the Star-Ledger.
“I think Marty’s going to get a lot of starts, but I’m a little reluctant to change our back-to-back philosophy,” he added. “Just because our back-to-back record has been excellent, and part of that has been because both goaltenders have played pretty well.”
The Devils only have four back-to-backs left in the season, suggesting Brodeur will see plenty of action down the stretch. Some might bristle at the idea of DeBoer riding his 39-year-old goalie hard (there’s gotta be a better way to say that), especially since Brodeur only played 56 games a year ago and, with a 23-26-3 record, posted his first losing season ever.
But this is the same Brodeur that led the NHL in appearances (77) just two years ago and hasn’t given up more than three goals in his last eight starts. There’s also the not-so-small issue of Brodeur wrecking shop in the shootout — he’s 4-1 this year and has only allowed two goals, posting one of the league’s top save percentages, which is huge considering the Devils have participated in a league-high 11 shootouts.
As for what Brodeur thinks of getting “loaded up” with games despite the fact he turns 40 in May?
“It’s just a number,” he told the New York Times. “You can let it affect you if you think about it all the time.”
The Los Angeles Kings and Mike Richards may be nearing a settlement in their dispute over Richards’ terminated contract, TSN’s Bob McKenzie is reporting.
You can read the report for all the details, but we’re sure curious about this part:
If a settlement is reached, there’s no word yet on what salary cap penalties the Kings would still face. There’s bound to be something, but not likely as onerous as the full value of Richards’ contract, which carries with it a cap hit of $5.75 million. If there’s a settlement, Richards would undoubtedly become a free agent though there’s no telling at this point what monies he would be entitled to from the Kings in a settlement.
The issue here is precedent, and what this case could set. The NHL and NHLPA can’t allow teams to escape onerous contracts through a back door, and many are adamant that that’s what the Kings were attempting to do in Richards’ case.
The NHL wants to take an educational approach — not a punitive one — to deter its players from using illicit drugs like cocaine.
“My interest is not to go around punishing people,” Bettman told Sportsnet today.
“My interest is getting players to understand the consequences of doing something that could jeopardize this great, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that they’ve been given, to play in the NHL.”
While some players have expressed surprise at hearing that cocaine use is growing, the anecdotal evidence of substance abuse has been very much in the news, from Jarret Stoll‘s arrest to Mike Richards’ arrest to, more recently, Zack Kassian‘s placement in the NHL/NHLPA’s treatment program.
“We don’t have the unilateral right to do things here. We need the consent of the Players’ Association,” Bettman said. “It’s not about punishment. It’s about making sure we get it to stop.”
Related: Cocaine in the NHL: A concern, but not a crisis?