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.