Volume 93, Issue 78

Thursday, February 17, 2000


Western on the way to West final

Millennium Moment

My money's on Brodeur

My money's on Brodeur

Has anyone noticed how well New Jersey goaltender Martin Brodeur is playing this year? Not only does he have the best record of any goalie in the National Hockey League at 33-10-6, but he also has one of the lowest goals against averages in the league.

Why has no one noticed he is on pace for a projected 47 win season, or that he could lead the Devils to the Stanley Cup like he did in 1995? Brodeur has been consistently good since he entered the NHL in the 1993-1994 season. He has back-stopped a mediocre New Jersey team and made them Stanley Cup contenders every year. Having said all this – why has nothing been mentioned about his year?

One reason could be the fact he plays for the Devils – a team representing a small blip on the NHL radar. Poor fan attendance and the over-shadowing effect of the New York Rangers has left the Devils lost in the shuffle. This year, much of the talk around the NHL has concerned the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Philadelphia Flyers, yet the Devils have a far superior record.

In 1995, when the Devils won the Stanley Cup, they were deemed the next dynasty. However, not even their "neutral zone trap" could prevent three quick exits from the playoffs in recent years, leaving them with the title of playoff chokers. Regardless of his leadership skills, Brodeur has suffered in reputation as a direct result of his post-season flops.

Brodeur is an athletic goalie who makes the impossible save possible yet, he is over shadowed by his heavily exposed eastern comrade, Toronto Maple Leafs netminder, Curtis Joseph.

Let's compare the two. Joseph is a good goalie who makes any team he's on, better – he is athletic and a strong performer. Brodeur is not only athletic, but he has won a Stanley Cup and is younger than Joseph. Joseph may get all the press, but Brodeur is the superior goalie in the regular season.

The problem with Brodeur is the fact New Jersey uses him so much, that he eventually wears down in the playoffs. Joseph has the ability to take a night off because of a strong backup in Glen Healy. The Devils don't have a strong second string goalie to rely on.

So who is the better goalie? It's a tough choice but for my money, I would take Brodeur. He is young and the more work he has, like Joseph, the better he gets. Without him, the Devils would be in the basement of the standings.

If you want to draw a comparison to another player not getting the credit he deserves, you just have to look at Colorado Avalanche forward Joe Sakic. When the Avalanche were the Quebec Nordiques, Sakic was the great unknown. He was a brilliant player who never got the credit he earned, much like Brodeur in New Jersey.

One thing's for sure – at the end of the year expect to see Brodeur with the Cup held high.

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