He doesn’t get as much credit as other superstars. He plays in a town that begins with “New” and ends in “rk.” But the town isn’t New York. It’s Newark. And the state is New Jersey.
And that’s never bothered him.
“Martin Brodeur is the gold standard of goaltending — the model of character, consistency and commitment to the craft,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement issued after Brodeur joined the immortals. “It is difficult to imagine any player who is more universally, and deservedly, respected.”
As statements go, this one was dead on. Brodeur is that rarest of heroes, a man who is just plain good people, a man who plays a fierce and violent game with grace and joy.
To get where he is, he’s had to be consistent, durable, dedicated, tough, athletic, resilient and ferociously competitive over 17 long and grueling years. The game has taken one full season and almost half of another away from him because of labor disputes. His body took another 50 games away from him this year. And still he broke what appeared to be an Everest of a record with absurd ease.
Bettman called him “a champion. A winner above all.”
He is the greatest winner ever, and he’s nowhere near done.
“Hopefully, we’ll play a few more years and get this record as high as possible, so for the next one coming, it will be a big challenge for him to get,” he said.
Note that he said “we,” not “I.” That’s why the soldout Prudential Center cheered themselves hoarse long after the 3-2 win over Chicago was in the books, chanting his name, celebrating what he’s meant to them and their team.
They chanted many things during the historic night. The best was one that began late in the third period, with the Blackhawks giving everything they had to deny him his moment and the Devils fighting back as hard as they could.
It went like this: “Thank you, Marty. Thank you, Marty.”
PHT: Colin Greening scored 7:39 into the second overtime, lifting the Senators to a win in Game 3 and trimming the Penguins' series lead to 2-1.
Devil of a goalie
New Jersey's Martin Brodeur, the winningest netminder in NHL history.
Video: NHL from NBC Sports
Highlights: Senators win double overtime thriller
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Brodeur simply the best ever
March 15: By the end of his contract, Martin Brodeur will be the owner of almost every record that pertains to goaltenders.