Martin Brodeur

Brodeur-Schneider dynamic will prove interesting for Devils


When Devils GM Lou Lamoriello acquired Cory Schneider from Vancouver at the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, most figured New Jersey had landed its No. 1 goalie for years to come.

But, as Lamoriello was quick to point out, 2013-14 wasn’t going to be one of those years.

“Marty is still a No. 1 goaltender. No question there,” Lamoriello told the New Jersey Star-Ledger following the deal. “It’s just a question of how much he can play to keep at the top of his game, with back-to-back games and in the Olympic year coming with what will be a condensed schedule.

“This gives us that transition we would’ve loved to have gotten maybe a year ago if it was possible.”

Considering the price New Jersey paid to get Schneider — the No. 9 overall pick (Bo Horvat) in a draft some considered to be the deepest since 2003 — it was curious to hear that a goaltending timeshare could still be play.

To be fair, though, Lamoriello wasn’t working under ordinary circumstances.

There’s no easy way to usher out Brodeur, the most iconic and important player in franchise history. It’s also tough to deny his No. 1 status, considering he’s barely a year removed from backstopping New Jersey to the Stanley Cup Final.

The issue with Schneider, though, isn’t just the price paid to acquire him. It’s time for him to play.

Vancouver’s first-round pick in 2004, he’s waited a long time to become a full-fledged No. 1 NHL netminder.

A long time.

At 27, he’s never played more than 33 games in a single season, and only started six career playoff contests. Two other goalies from the ’04 Draft class — Devan Dubnyk and Pekka Rinne — have appeared in far more regular-season games; Al Montoya, the first goalie taken that year, has played in 64 career games to Schneider’s 98 (and Montoya went two years between NHL appearances.)

What’s perhaps most interesting about the dynamic, though, is how Brodeur sees it shaking out in what could be the final year of his career.

“It won’t be difficult for [Schneider]. Hey, we’re in New Jersey,” Brodeur told the Toronto Star. “It’s not going to be prime time with every single start. We’ll be in Carolina and nobody will care who starts a game. If he plays four in a row, it will not be a big deal. If I play four in a year, no big deal.

“That’s what I’m going to say to him. This is going to be a cakewalk for you compared to what you’ve been through the last four years.”

Niemi blanks Pens, notches two assists in Stars debut

Antti Niemi, Sidney Crosby, Patric Hornqvist

DALLAS (AP) — Antti Niemi recorded his 33rd career shutout and assisted on two goals in his Dallas debut, as the Stars beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-0 on Thursday night in the season opener for both.

Ales Hemsky had a power-play goal and an assist.

Rookie Matthias Janmark scored on his first shot on his first shift in an NHL game to make it 1-0. The Stars acquired Niemi and Janmark in trades earlier this year.

Dallas scored on two of five power plays. Jamie Benn, the NHL’s leading scorer last season, had a power-play goal in the third period.

Niemi made 37 saves to improve his career record against the Penguins to 5-1-1. He withstood a flurry in the final minute after Pittsburgh pulled goalie Marc-Andre Fleury for an extra skater.

Fleury had 21 saves.

The Stars are 4-0-1 in their last five home games against Pittsburgh, and have won three in a row overall.

Janmark skated down the slot, took a pass from Hemsky and shot between Fleury’s legs at 1:39 of the first.

The Penguins dominated the latter half of the period, but couldn’t score. Niemi’s best stop was a reaching glove save of Rod Scuderi’s drive from the blue line with less than 3 minutes remaining. Pittsburgh outshot the Stars 10-4 in the first.

Hemsky scored at 5:42 of the second on Dallas’ first power play. His shot from the top of the right faceoff circle went in over Fleury’s right shoulder.

The Penguins again had an advantage in shots, 13-11. Pittsburgh had chances in close, but Niemi turned those away. Midway through the second, John Klingberg cleared away a loose puck from in front of the net.

Seven seconds into the Stars’ fourth power play of the third period, Jamie Benn tipped in Jason Spezza‘s shot from the right point.

NOTES: Dallas acquired Janmark as part of a March trade that sent Erik Cole to Detroit. The rookie had been playing in the Swedish Hockey League. . San Jose traded Niemi’s rights to the Stars in June for a seventh-round draft pick. Also making their Dallas debuts were LW Patrick Sharp and D Johnny Oduya, teammates with Chicago’s Stanley Cup champions last season. . In his first game for the Penguins, Phil Kessel played in his 447th straight game. . Pittsburgh was 0 for 3 on the power play.

Fabbri’s first spoils McDavid’s debut as Blues down Oilers

Robby Fabbri, Justin Schultz
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ST. LOUIS (AP) — Rookie Robby Fabbri scored the tiebreaking goal midway through the third period to help the St. Louis Blues beat Edmonton 3-1 Thursday night, spoiling Oilers rookie Connor McDavid‘s NHL debut.

Vladimir Tarasenko had the tying goal for the Blues near the midpoint of the second period, and Troy Brouwer added an empty-netter with 18 seconds remaining in the third. Brian Elliott finished with 23 saves.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored in the first period for Edmonton and Cam Talbot had 28 saves.

McDavid, the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft, took 22 shifts, played 18:07 and was on the ice for Brouwer’s goal. He had two shots on goal, and struggled on faceoffs – winning only three of 13.

Fabbri, a 19-year-old forward — and McDavid’s childhood friend — was also playing in his first NHL game. The Blues’ first-round pick in 2014 was one of three rookies in the St. Louis lineup, joining defensemen Colton Parayko and Joel Edmundson.

Nugent-Hopkins gave the Oilers a 1-0 lead late in the first period with a fluke power-play goal. He lost a face-off but when Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo tried to clear the puck it bounced off Alexander Steen and past Brian Elliott. Nugent-Hopkins was credited with the unassisted power-play goal with 2:38 remaining in the period.

Tarasenko tied it a 9:10 of the second after getting loose on a breakaway with a stretch pass from Alex Pietrangelo and beating Talbot through his legs.

Tarasenko, who signed an eight-year, $60 million extension in the offseason, was the last Blues player to score in his debut.

NOTES: McDavid and F Anton Slepyshev made their NHL debuts for the Oilers. … St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina dropped the ceremonial first puck. … The attendance was announced as standing room-only 19,327.