Tag: Martin Brodeur

Ice Hockey - Men's Semifinal - CAN vs SVK

PHT’s Pressing Olympic Questions: Will goaltending cost Canada?


There is always going to be second-guessing when it comes to Canada’s roster at the Sochi Olympics. So far, without a single game played, the question marks and doubts surrounding the goalies of the defending gold medalists are abundant.

The three tasked with tending the Canadian net: Roberto Luongo, believed to be the incumbent for the starter’s job after his gold medal victory in Vancouver four years ago, Carey Price of the Montreal Canadiens and Mike Smith of the Phoenix Coyotes.

None of them have been particularly impressive since the roster was announced on Jan. 7, which has prompted debate about who gets the starting duties. It’s believed the top choices are Luongo and Price, with Smith slotting into the No. 3 role. Luongo has allowed 26 goals in his last nine starts, but 14 goals in his last four. Price has given up 32 goals in 13 games, including a span in which he allowed four or more goals on five consecutive occasions. He’s playing well of late, with three straight wins, one shutout and three goals-allowed in his last three games. Smith has given up 33 goals in 14 games, but has also played better since the start of February, allowing five goals in his last four games, which includes a shutout.

The greatest concern appears to be Luongo.

“I don’t know. Obviously, we haven’t won, so it’s tough from that side of things,” Luongo said recently about the state of his game, as his Vancouver Canucks lost seven straight prior to the Olympic break.

Luongo has also dealt with two injuries – a groin ailment suffered prior to the holiday break and an ankle injury after a collision with the Kings’ Dustin Brown early three days before the Olympic announcement.

Last week, Canadian head coach Mike Babcock told Sportsnet he’ll split the goalie duties in the first two games of the competition, while the goalie who starts in the third game will probably be the starter for the remainder of the tournament. Babcock, the returning coach for Canada’s team, didn’t divulge any details on who his initial starter will be in the opening game, although he has an idea. Four years ago, Babcock started Martin Brodeur, but after a round-robin concluding loss to the U.S., the bench boss switched over to Luongo in the medal round. His decision proved successful.

It seems impossible that Babcock would base his decisions on the public comments of NHL players over the course of the last month. But 10 days after Canada’s roster announcement, Montreal Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban, also on the Canadian squad, made a ringing endorsement for his NHL teammate Price.

“I know he’s my teammate and everything, but I’m hard pressed to find another goalie that’s better than him right now in the world,” said Subban.

As we can see, the debate involves many opinions, beyond just that of fans and pundits. Doubtful any of it will influence Babcock and his coaching staff. But there’s no denying that the individual performances of Luongo, Price and Smith over the last month have raised questions from the external sources about whether Canada can repeat as gold medal champions, and whether goaltending will help or hinder that team’s quest.

Recent comments from Babcock would suggest that Luongo will be his guy to start the tournament. He also gave Luongo a vote of confidence, too. Past history, like the 2010 Games and not the month of January, might have something to do with that.

“I’m not concerned,” Babcock said, as per TSN.

“I just think he’s a really good goalie. I’ve been with him a number of times and he’s always found a way to deliver. So I’m not concerned, no.”

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Report: Brodeur met with Lamoriello to discuss his future with Devils

Martin Brodeur

Martin Brodeur’s future in New Jersey has become a hot topic of late and isn’t likely to cool off.

Renaud Lavoie of TVA Sports reports Brodeur met with Devils GM Lou Lamoriello to discuss his future with the team. Brodeur has mentioned this season how it’s been difficult being relegated to backup duty behind Cory Schneider and would be OK with going to a contender if it’s best for the Devils.

The awkward part of that thinking, however, is that Brodeur isn’t the same goalie he’s been in the past and his numbers bear that out. His save percentage (.899) and goals-against average (2.52) are the worst they’ve been in his 20-year career.

Schneider has been the better goalie this season and Brodeur’s career is nearly at an end. If he needs to go elsewhere to finish his career, it would be very strange seeing him not in a Devils uniform.

Let the Luongo-or-Price debate begin

Roberto Luongo, Carey Price,

Team Canada’s coaching staff will hold a press conference Monday in Sochi, where surely one of the first questions Mike Babcock gets will pertain to his goaltending plans. Will he go with Roberto Luongo, the man who stepped in for Martin Brodeur and back-stopped Canada to Winter Olympics gold in 2010, or will it be Carey Price, who unlike Luongo hasn’t lost his last five NHL starts for a team that’s stuck in its worst slump in years?

With the possible exception of Alex Ovechkin, there may not be a player in today’s game that’s spurred more debate than Luongo. In Vancouver, where he’s been since 2006, he’s been the most talked-about athlete in the city’s history. And in his last five starts for the Canucks — all regulation losses, though certainly not all his fault — the 34-year-old has allowed 17 goals on 142 shots, for an unenviable save percentage of .880.

According to the Vancouver Province, when asked about the state of his game, Luongo paused before replying with, “I don’t know. Obviously, we haven’t won, so it’s tough from that side of things.”

Back in 2010, following Canada’s loss to the United States in the preliminary round, Babcock explained his decision to sit Brodeur and turn to Luongo like this: “We’re in the winning business. To win at in any game at any level you need big saves. You need momentum-changing saves. We’re looking for [Luongo] to do that for us.”

And in the end, Luongo came through. But that was four years ago. Hockey fans don’t need to be told how much water’s gone under Luongo’s bridge in the time since.

In Price, Babcock has a 26-year-old who’s allowed just three goals in his last three games, with a sky-high save percentage of .971. All three were Montreal wins. And remember what business Babcock’s in.

Now, of course, one must consider both goalies’ overall body of work, not just their last few games. It’s not like Price is throwing a perfect game in the NHL. Far from it. And there’s something to be said for his lack of big-game experience, of which Luongo has plenty, even if it hasn’t always gone his way in those games.

The challenge for Babcock will be getting a good handle on his netminders before his team faces a must-win game. Tournament minnows Norway and Austria are Canada’s first two opponents in the preliminary round — and Luongo and Price may split those games — before a slightly tougher test against injury-ravaged Finland. After that, it’s likely a spot in the win-or-go-home quarterfinals.

Let the Great Canadian Debate begin.

Schneider in tonight, Brodeur will go more than month between starts

New Jersey Devils goalie Cory Schneider, left, looks at the scoreboard as he stands in front of New Jersey Devils goalie Martin Brodeur during a timeout in the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Pittsburgh, Friday, Dec. 13, 2013. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

The New Jersey Devils have confirmed that Cory Schneider will make his sixth straight start and second in as many days on Saturday. Consequently, Martin Brodeur will end up going more than a month between starts.

“I’ve never had that time off while I was healthy playing on a team and two weeks vacation on top,” Brodeur told the Bergen Record earlier in the week when he openly conceded to this possibility.

Schneider has outplayed Brodeur — and most of the league for that matter — this season. That’s put the legendary goaltender in a situation he’s not accustomed to as the team’s backup.

To add to that, Brodeur will not be representing Canada in the Olympics after serving the nation in four consecutive Winter Games. He would obviously rather be getting playing time and he’s previously suggested that he would be willing to waive his no-trade clause if asked.

That being said, despite his past accomplishments, there might not be much of a market for the 41-year-old netminder.

PHT Morning Skate: Tortorella thrilled for Martin St. Louis

Tampa Bay Lightning's Martin St. Louis (26) looks up during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2014, in Winnipeg, Manitoba. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Trevor Hagan)

PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Vancouver Canucks coach John Tortorella is thrilled that Team Canada picked Tampa Bay Lightning forward Martin St. Louis as Steven Stamkos’ replacement. Tortorella coached St. Louis for parts of seven seasons before the Lightning parted ways with the bench boss. (Canada.com)

Editor’s Note: Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a $1,500 Fantasy Hockey league for Friday’s NHL games. It’s $10 to join and first prize is $350. Starts Friday at 7:00 p.m. ET. Here’s the FanDuel link.

Martin Brodeur said that it’s “not a big deal” that he won’t be going to the 2014 Winter Olympics, but he admitted to some nostalgia as the games draw near. Meanwhile, he’s waiting to find out if he’ll go a month between starts. (The Bergen Record)

Although it’s not entirely in their control, the Chicago Blackhawks’ goal is to enter the Olympic break with the best record in the Western Conference. (CSN Chicago)

The Nashville Predators are just 1-7 in shootouts this season and that might end up being what costs them a postseason berth. (The Tennessean)

The Edmonton Oilers experimented with moving Nail Yakupov to the team’s top line on Thursday and the initial results were good. (Edmonton Sun)

Max Pacioretty had a hat trick on Thursday, but he said he would’ve been kicking himself if Montreal ended up losing because he also failed on two penalty shots. (Montreal Gazette)

The Pittsburgh Penguins have been very happy with Deryk Engelland’s recent play, which is why they’ve made efforts to keep him in the lineup, even if it means using the defenseman as a forward. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)