New Jersey Devils Retire Martin Brodeur’s No. 30
The New Jersey Devils retired Martin Brodeur’s No.30 jersey to the rafters at the Prudential Center in a pre-game ceremony on Tuesday, one day after unveiling a new, 11-foot tall, nearly 1000-pound bronze statue of their future first ballot Hall of Fame puck stopper that will remain on display outside the building. It was a fitting honour for the face of the franchise and one of the (arguably the) greatest goaltenders of all time. The banner raising was the culmination of a four-day celebration to honour Brodeur’s 21-year career, which ended midway through last season with his name etched on three Stanley Cups (1995, 2000, 2003), four Vezina Trophies and atop more than 20 NHL career records, including some of the biggest:
– Regular season wins: 691
– Regular season shutouts : 125
– Games played: 1,266
– Minutes played: 74,439 (that’s almost 52 days)
– Playoff shutouts: 24
Brodeur, who led the NHL in wins nine times, also holds the record for the most 40-win seasons (eight), 30-win seasons (14), and most wins in a single season (48). The durable goaltender made 194 consecutive playoff starts for the Devils, including a record seven shutouts in a single post-season, is second in career playoff wins with 113, and also won the Williams Jennings Trophy for fewest goals against five times, and the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s rookie of the year in 1994.
Whatever you think of how much of Brodeur’s success was the result of playing behind a stingy Devils defence throughout his career, there is no questioning his impact as the face of a franchise that, under the guidance of then-GM Lou Lamoriello, always asked its players to put the logo on the front ahead of the name on the back.
If any goalie of this era warrants a statue in front of a stadium, it is Brodeur in New Jersey:
It was an admittedly emotional four days for Brodeur, who also dropped the puck for a ceremonial face-off between his replacement, Cory Schneider, and Washington Capitals star Braden Holtby:
For Brodeur, who finished his career after a short stint with the St. Louis Blues and still works for them in management, the celebration was a perfect send off from Devils fans.
“Closure,” Brodeur told reporters. “This is it. After that, I’m going to have to beg to get cheered like that.”
Brodeur will get too hear the cheers one more time when he is welcomed to the Hall of Fame in 2018, but he’s right, it might never be as big as it was in New Jersey.Brodeur was also gracious with his time when it came to dealing with the media, including InGoal Magazine. Here are a few of the highlights from our interviews with the Devils’ legend:
~ Did you know Brodeur actually started as a butterfly goalie before being drafted by the Devils and converted by Jacques Caron. “My whole thing was butterfly,” Brodeur told InGoal in a lengthy Q&A you can read here.
~ The modernization of Marty’s equipment. After years of advocating for smaller gear all around, Brodeur finally started adding inches to his own over his last few seasons: read it here.
~ After setting the single season assist record, Brodeur shared how got started playing the puck (it was after his dad, a photographer for the Montreal Canadiens, watched Hextall) and how he developed the skill: Read it here.
~ Why the ratty old chest and arm Brodeur insisted would retire with him didn’t last to the end before being replaced by a Reebok model worn by Pekka Rinne: Read it here.
~ How teams started exploiting Brodeur’s lack of a butterfly, including how it cost him the starting job at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, which led to him using more late in his career: Read it here.