Archive for the ‘Martin Brodeur’ Category

Martin Brodeur should pass the Olympic torch in 2010

August 27, 2009

When Martin Brodeur passed Patrick Roy for the all-time record in goaltending wins, the NHL Network began running a gushing special feature about Brodeur’s illustrious career. One of the special’s primary focuses was Roy’s refusal to share goaltending starts with Brodeur in ’98, a frustrating experience for the then-budding superstar.

Canada fell short of a gold medal that year, but then came back in 2002 to take the top prize with Brodeur in net. Yet, in 2006, Team Canada was unable to even threaten for a medal.

Now, obviously, Brodeur wasn’t the #1 problem for a team that couldn’t score to save its life.

Still, it makes you wonder if Canada – the only country with enough elite goalies that they will inevitably be forced to leave potential Hall of Famers behind – would benefit more from starting a guy who’s never been given the opportunity to win a gold medal.

Besides, Brodeur’s unreal workhorse streak is now in danger of becoming a thing of the past after his bicep injury last season. Does he need to risk one of his final prime years for a second gold medal? No, not in my opinion.

If I were Steve Yzerman, I would go with Roberto Luongo. Imagine the kind of backing Bobby Lou would receive, not only representing Canada but also the hometown Vancouver Canucks? It’s almost a cosmic occurrence. (Of course, it would be an unreal amount of pressure, but this is what he’s always wanted … right?)

Luongo’s gone all these years playing for terrible teams in Long Island and Florida plus a good-but-not-elite club in Vancouver. This could be his chance to cement his legacy as one of the truly great goalies of his generation.

He’s younger, in his prime and hungrier than Brodeur.*

Even if Luongo is unavailable, Syrupland would have oh-so-many great options. They could go with the money goaltending of J.S. Giguere. Get a puck mover like Marty Turco. Maybe go with a young phenom such as Steve Mason, Cam Ward or even Marc Andre Fleury. Just about every other nation would kill for guys who won’t even be reserves for Canada.

Then again, if the Canadians decide to make the same lazy types of decisions that they made in 2002, that would be absolutely fine with me. My country needs all the help it can get.

* – Go ahead, make a token fat joke. Shame on you.

With the 19th pick, the Canes take:

July 26, 2009
(H/T to Puck Daddy for the Brody ‘stache greatness.)

19. Ashley from Life and Times of a Caniac picks Martin Brodeur.

Cap Hit: $5,200,000

Thoughts from Day 1 of the BoC adventure

April 23, 2009
  • All signs point to Earl Sleek being a bad ass.
  • As it turns out, a part of me hates Martin Brodeur. Or I at least generated a lot of sick joy in watching his stick slamming tantrum (see video). Perhaps I ride a train fueled by envy?
  • Speaking of “Envy” I also realized after watching the astoundingly hilarious “Mr. Show” (fourteen years late) that at some point – though the exact time is unclear – a switch turned and I started to pretty much hate Jack Black. For those of you who like sliding scales, Brodeur is close to “neutral/dislike” while Black is pushing the needle to “tediously useless.” You’d think I would use a numbered scale, but alas …

Hockey Orphan: John Fischer from In Lou We Trust on the New Jersey Devils

April 9, 2009
Click the logo about to read all the Hockey Orphan entries

(Thanks to John from In Lou We Trust for the New Jersey Devils entry. Make sure to follow Lou, Marty and Co. as they try to break more records and hearts. Another fantastic SB Nation blog.)

Life is about choices. More likely than not, you choose what to think, what to eat, what to drink, what to do for work, what to believe in, and what to imagine among other things. Relevant to this feature, you choose who you support within a sport. Before going any further, let me thank you for choosing to support hockey. It truly is the greatest sport on Earth, combining physicality, athleticism, finesse, speed, and emotion like no other sport. The National Hockey League features the best players in the entire world at hockey, giving their all on the ice more often than not – particularly in the postseason. These are the fundamental choices one must make before supporting a team and I laud you for making those choices. Even when either one becomes aggravating at times.
Back to teams, I can think of no other team to support than the New Jersey Devils. Sure, I am a big Devils fan, to the point where I spend my free time typing far too many words about the team I love. I am not an unbiased observer. And why should I be? Pretty much all hockey fans were at the same place you were at one time or another, about to make this choice. Why shouldn’t I offer my own spiel to sway your decision? After all, I truly believe that the Devils are the right choice.

The best way I can sum up the Devils’ overall is that organization is a model of consistent success. This is not a team that will throw out its leadership or its philosophy for the latest flavor of the month. The current general manager is also the team’s president and CEO, Lou Lamoriello. Lou isn’t perfect, but he’s been nothing short of remarkable for what he turned the Devils into today. He set the values for the team that are still followed today: professionalism, strong character, and a commitment to team work and defensive play. Players with extra baggage, arrogant “superstars,” players who whine consistently, and general “locker room cancers” are quickly shown the door in New Jersey. This is a team that respects each other as well as the organization as a whole. This is a team that one cannot really complain about its personnel outside of their performance. This is a team where the top players, who could get “more productive” roles on other teams or more money, choose to stay with New Jersey for less money because they know they have a better chance at success. If any of this interests you, then New Jersey should be your choice.
The Devils also do not care to please opponents. Whereas the other teams in the league favor certain styles of play, the Devils are committed to what is best for them. The Devils brought back the neutral zone trap in the mid-1990s and performed like a machine with it their first Stanley Cup in 1995 and multiple division titles soon after. Critics and fans of opposing teams reviled the Devils for being boring or being too defensive or killing hockey or whatever. Did New Jersey ever listen to them? No. They just kept winning games. And when the team had the offensive talent, they opened things up. The critics, stuck in the past as critics often are, still had the same complaints. New Jersey just went onto win their second Stanley Cup in 2000 and came one game short in 2001 for a repeat. The Devils returned to their defensive ways, but playing a more tight checking game than a direct neutral zone trap, and clawed their way to a third Stanley Cup in 2003. Even after the lockout, with all sorts of rule changes and other incentives to increase scoring, the Devils remain as one of the league’s top teams. The team now plays more of a puck-possession style of hockey, preferring to win it along the boards and let the play come to them defensively. Did it matter what the rest of the league was doing? No. The Devils continue to do what is best for them and since their breakout year of 1993-94, they have made the playoffs every year with the exception of one season, won 7 division titles, 4 Stanley Cup final appearances, and 3 Stanley Cups. The results are proof that the Devils’ method works; and needless to say, we’re quite pleased with it. If such a commitment to excellence despite the means interests you, then New Jersey should be your choice.
As it stands, the Devils also have players of note that demand your attention. One of the failings of the franchise is a lack of marketing and trumpeting of the team’s success and their players. Nevertheless, and this is written in a book, if you seek, then you shall find. The Devils currently boast one of the game’s greatest goaltenders in net: Martin Brodeur. He is now the all-time leader in wins in NHL history, he is closing in on the most shutouts in NHL history, and he has achieved every major award a goaltender could win outside of being named the league’s Most Valuable Player. He’s 36 and he’s still making unbelievable saves on any given night. Brodeur will continue to do so until the end of his career. The Devils also feature Patrik Elias, who recently became the franchise scoring leader. He has excellent one-on-one skills, brilliant vision, and a solid work ethic. All this and he’s excellent at coming back to help the defense. Elias has seen and done it all for the Devils throughout his career. As far as legends to come, this season saw the breakout of Zach Parise. The Devils traded up for this talent in 2003 and he’s currently paying massive dividends. He’ll go to the net for loose pucks, he’ll take big hits fighting for the puck in corners, he’ll constantly hustle for pucks all game long, he’ll take shot after shot after shot on net, and, like Elias, he’ll make the seemingly impossible possible. He’s one of the league’s leading scorers and the best is yet to come from Parise. Devils legends like Brodeur and Elias, and future ones like Parise will give you something to marvel at on any given night. Combine that with the fact that the team as whole will work hard to make something happen, going back to the team’s values, and it’s no wonder why the Devils get the results they have. If any of this interests you at all, then New Jersey should be your choice.
I understand this is a lot to take in, but consider the bigger picture. This isn’t just a good team; or a passing fad. The New Jersey Devils are an excellent organization overall and the results show that. This is a team that hasn’t had to re-build since the late 1980s-early 1990s, they only look to continuously improve themselves. This is a team that looks to compete for the Stanley Cup every season instead of settling for a high draft pick. This is a team that has their style of play; the players (for the most part) utilize it effectively; and has many fans of other teams scratch their heads and go, “How come the Devils are so good? Why can’t my team play like that?”

From my perspective, the choice is either to support a team that will look to do something every season or to support a team that will not even come close to meeting the same level of success. I really don’t see how choosing New Jersey wouldn’t be an excellent at all. I’m sure you will make the right choice.

Afternoon Cycle: Brodeur and Friends

March 16, 2009

  • Before we get to the meatier portions, CLS must acknowledge its namesakes when they are in the news. In case you were unaware, the Sedin twins are at some sort of impasse with the Vancouver Canucks when it comes to twin contract extensions. (Spector by way of Puck Daddy)

The Sedins are more than a novelty act, but my feeling is that the pairing should probably knock a million off their asking price if they want to continue to be a package deal. And it would be wrong if the two were split up. Wrong and foreign. Like a pair of male ginger twins dancing at your bachelor party.

Two three-year contracts for $5.5 million per year strikes me as a reasonable compromise. I mean, they only have one digestive system anyway, right? RIGHT?

  • Things might be a little light on the contributor front for the next week or so. Chris Kontos is going on a wild’n’crazy five week adventure, our other contributors are possibly kidnapped in a trunk somewhere and the Next Decade team process will be pushed to the summer.

Hopefully my limited brain power can produce a few worthwhile posts in the meantime. Please don’t leave me. This world is cold and lonely.

  • With an malnourished inbox, the quest for the best Brodeur clips will just have to amount to what I’ve come across so far. However, if you stumble on this list and feel your work is missing simply drop me a line and it will probably be updated. Probably.

Perhaps the most comprehensive Brodeur study was made by friend of CLS Joe Pelletier. He did a great job of breaking down Brodeur’s career against the work of his best contemporaries Patrick Roy and Dominik Hasek.

Eyes on the Prize featured an amusing take on the Brodeur vs. Roy debate: “Ten Things Martin Brodeur will never have on Patrick Roy.”

James Mirtle picks Roy by a hair at From the Rink.

John from in Lou we Trust points out that while career milestones are nice, the goal for this season is for the Devils to raise their fourth Cup. He also makes the point of saying, “what good is a 2.00 GAA if you only win 20 games a season?”

Much like ESPN following Barry Bonds until he broke Hank Aaron‘s home run record, NHL Network will follow Brodeur until he slides above Roy for the all-time wins record. At this point, I love NHL Network to the point that if it beat me up, I’d be back the next day with sunglasses to mask my black eye and a fresh “I fell down the stairs” excuse. Yup, it’s my umbrella.
Whenever someone quits an online NHL 09 game early so my team cannot record a shutout, my message is always a snarky “Stay Classy.” Apparently, Frozen Fiend shows that you can use the term in a non-derisive fashion. Go figure.

The New York Times hockey blog rightly questions Greg Millen’s strange statement made right after Brodeur tied Roy’s record: “You think this isn’t a hockey market?” Finally, the Montreal Canadiens show that hockey can work in Montreal, the NASHVILLE of CANADA! Seriously, though, what was Millen thinking? People rioted in Montreal after they won a first round series. Hopefully Millen was drunk.

Maybe the “but he has shootout wins!” argument would matter more if this was Brodeur’s retirement tour, but MB will probably pad his record pretty comfortably as long as he remains durable. Can we please stop with this argument unless he retires with less regulation wins? Please?

Lastly, the Program has some Brodeur videos for your viewing pleasure.

The relative impossibility of judging Brodeur’s greatness relative to the greats

March 14, 2009

Martin Brodeur is not a Fraud.

That, ultimately, might not be the true point of Brodeur is a Fraud, but it is something that must be said nonetheless. You don’t threaten all-time records in wins and shutouts just because you have a good team in front of you.

The tricky part, though, is assessing any player in any sport compared to other players of similar greatness in different eras. Hockey is one of the truest team sports and is also a very diverse game from generation to generation.

For years, goalies could not even go down to the ice to stop a puck. The Bobby Orr era brought about a difficult time for tenders, but the Wayne Gretzky just about nuked GAA and save percentage stats.

Then, of course, there was the Dead Puck Era. A time in which the 100-point fire hydrants of the Eighties were replaced by goalies being outfitted like tanks producing once-unthinkable sub-2.00 GAA seasons.

Patrick Roy won a Cup in both eras. Martin Brodeur enjoyed his prime years in the no-score years. Some say Roy was better; some say Dominik Hasek was better than both.

But beyond his peers, how do you really compare Brodeur to … Jacques Plante? To Georges Vezina? To Ken Dryden?

The John Hollingers of the world think that you can adjust stats to tell you anything, but the problem is that these players weren’t worried about micro managing save percentages. Is it fair to say that (throwing out the steroid talk for a moment) Barry Bonds was, cleanly or not, a better home run hitter than Babe Ruth? Bonds hit more homers, but Ruth out-homered opposing teams in his day. Relatively speaking, Ruth was Gretzky-like. Incomparable. But can you say he’s a better dinger-man than Bonds? It’s futile.

Brodeur’s career, to me, is quite a lot like Emmitt Smith‘s. Both players were among the best in their position in their primes. Both were seemingly indestructible compared to their peers, allowing them to amass staggering numbers. And both were, at least slightly, damned by the fact that they played along with Hall of Fame teammates and lacked the artfulness of their best counterparts. They even share the similar quality of owning three championship rings.

Brodeur is to Smith as Dominik Hasek is to Barry Sanders.

(Although Brodeur probably butchers English less often than Smith, even if it might be his second language.)

Right now, people are trotting out “but he got his stats beefed up by SO wins!” and that’s fine. It’s relevant. But he’s 36 years old. If he plays 4-6 years, he could add 100 to 150 wins to his totals. Will that make him the best goalie of all-time?

Some will probably say yes, others will turn red faced and scream “No!”; there is simply no way to truly know. Ultimately, it’s subjective: once the stats melt away it’s all about nostalgia, rooting interest, what games you get to see and stylistic preferences.

How about, instead of grinding your teeth fighting for or against Brodeur, you just enjoy being alive to see records being broken? After all, it may take a few generations to break Marty’s records. Might as well make THE BEST of it.

All Decade Team: Deirdre’s Picks

March 2, 2009

So I should have been the first person to whip these out, because I have to admit, while there is a little room for argument…really most of these are blatantly obvious and have already been picked.  So no earth shattering picks on this one.  The Puck Huffers beat me to the wacky picks (nice post by the way).  Plus, nice arguments by everyone on the already chosen players…so that being said here are my picks and my brief explanations.  

First some ground rules.  I personally think to be on the AD Team, you have to have a few qualifying things:

-a Stanley Cup

-an individual award (i.e. Art Ross, Conn Smythe)

-a couple of playoff appearances

-success at the international level

Center:  Peter Forsberg

Alright, since this is basically a fantasy team.  I want to set up my fantasy.  Forsberg is totally healthy: no ankle/spleen/wrist/flu/african sleeping sickness.  He’s also shirtless and bearing a whip, but I suppose that’s a different fantasy.  

The argument is simple: when he’s healthy, he’s a beast.  Of course in reality Forsberg is the poster boy for injured reserve.  But the bottom-line is that he makes the people he plays with better.  My grandmother could score 50 goals on a line with Forsberg.  Stats, facts and figures have been tossed around a lot, but I leave you with this.  

Whoa dudes, I can’t feel my spleen!”

Two Stanley Cups, Art Ross Trophy, Calder Memorial Trophy, Hart Memorial Trophy, 7 All-Star selections, 2 Olympic Gold Medals, 2 Gold World Championships…all from a guy who is known for being injured.  

Wings: Jaromir Jagr and Martin St. Louis

Really there is not a lot to be said about Jagr.  Yes, he’s had issues with motivation and temperament (as nicely as I can put it).  But he’s a legend in this sport.  I know his glory years were mainly in the early 90’s, but he also was among the best players in this decade too.  I think that’s more reason to put him on this team.  

I don’t feel the need to list all of his accomplishments, but multiple cups, multiple personal awards, multiple NHL records….he’s a no brainer.

St. Louis is a slightly different story.  I almost picked Iggy, but I had to give the nod to St. Louis. Statistically, the two have similar points to game totals, but Marty’s got the cup.  Plain and simple.

The Pearson is taller than St. Louis

He was a standout college player.  He’s got the Hart, the Art Ross and a Lester B. Pearson Award and an Olympic medal.

Defense: Nik Lidstrom and Scott Niedermayer

I refuse to even make the case for Lidstrom because if you don’t think he belongs on this team, you are plum crazy.  The only question is will the league rename the Norris trophy the “Lidstrom-wins-this-every-year trophy.”  In fact, Lid is the captain of my AD Team.  He’s also the guy who visits children in the hospital and kisses the babies.

Niedermayer is nearly as much of a no-brainer as Lidstrom.  Pronger is left out in the cold for the same reason as Iginla: hasn’t won the big one yet.

Goalie: Marty Brodeur

Seriously, no competition on this one.  As of this writing, Brody has put in the books his 100th career shutout.

I think that Brody may actually be made of metal

Coach: Mike Babcock

Hasn’t been fired in the decade and won the big prize.  His teams end up in the playoffs.

Fighter: Chris Simon

This is a weird one, but go with me on it.  I am lumping fighter/goon/pest into this and I think for my money it’s Chris Simon.  The man is pure evil.  In fact, he’s anti-Lidstrom.  He’s drop kicking babies and unplugging the IV’s of children in the hospital.  Would I want him on my team: no.  Do I think he could kill Sid the Kid: yes.  This guy has a cup!  Can you believe that?  Iggy’s got nothing.  Proof we live in an imperfect world.  

So why is he winning this category in my mind.  8 Suspensions totaling 65 games missed.  He’s missed nearly a full season in suspensions and to my knowledge all the suspensions have occurred in this decade.  So maybe he doesn’t win the fighter award, but he does win the horrible human being award.

Loudmouth: Jeremy Roenick

I *heart* JR.

So that’s the AD Team.  Hope you enjoy them!


All-Decade Team Goalie: Can anyone challenge Martin Brodeur?

January 29, 2009

Among hockey’s great minds (and my name is not on that list … hopefully mine is at least on the list of “people who can function and happen to enjoy the NHL”), the importance and relevance of statistics is of considerable debate. For the most part, my allegiance is somewhere down the middle.

Sometimes it’s just flat out difficult to deny dominance. When it comes to sheer quantity from the seasons ’99-00 to current day, no other goaltender comes within spitting distance of Martin Brodeur.

His numbers are just staggering. On these numbers alone, you could quite possibly have a Hall of Fame career:
  • 343 wins
  • 62 shutouts,
  • approximate save pct. 91.3%
  • at least 70 GPs every year except 2008-09
  • Two Stanley Cups
  • 5 All-Star appearances
  • 4 Vezina trophies
  • 2 Jennings GAA trophies
  • three time First Team All-Star

There isn’t another goalie who approaches many of those totals. Some, like Dominik Hasek, saw their best days before the turn of the century. Others, like Henrik Lundqvist, came along too late or have yet to enter their prime.

That being said, Brodeur has had his fair share of detractors in his career. Certainly, the Devils are enjoying a considerable amount of success with their famous goaltender nursing an injury. Some say that Brody simply was in the right place at the right time, a solid goaltender who happened to luck into New Jersey’s suffocating trap defense.

One of the most reasonable and interesting critics of Brodeur is The Contrarian Goaltender, who runs the aptly titled (and regularly fascinating) blog Brodeur is a Fraud. We had the pleasure of exchanging an e-mail on the subject of Brodeur as goaltender of the decade, and while admitting that ” … the time frame (99-00 to present) does line up pretty well for Brodeur, since all his main rivals from the 1990s retired in that period” the CG says that the one goalie who may stand a chance is Roberto Luongo:

“I tend to place a greater importance on individual save stats than team success, as well as a heavier weighting on peak play than longevity, and I generally distrust goalie award voting. All of these are reasons to pick Luongo over Brodeur. I think save percentage is the best goalie stat, and according to that stat Luongo was the best goalie of the decade (.919 save percentage compared to .914 for Brodeur, with Luongo likely facing tougher shots on average). I think Luongo’s 2003-04 season was quite possibly the best single season by any goalie between 2000 and 2008. Brodeur’s best season was unquestionably 2006-07, and yet I would have given my Vezina vote to Luongo that season. Brodeur has the quantity, team success, and award voting, but in my view Luongo has the superior quality.

… Brodeur is definitely the safe choice and the consensus opinion, but if it was my call I’d go with Luongo.”

Throughout this process, the main things I’ve been focusing on revolve around stats, peak years and awards although other subjective and outside influences will come into effect.

This is part of the reason I’m putting together a “secret tribunal” to ultimately decide this All-Decade Team. Any of the other contributors are welcome to base their decisions on any number of factors (the only rule: consider the time frame of 99-00 to current).

It will be interesting to see what kind of debates spring up along the way. So, what do you say: is Brodeur a no-brainer or is Luongo a better goalie stuck on lesser teams?