Hockey Headlines

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Sacre Bleu!

It's hard to believe that one of hockey's greatest goaltenders to have ever strapped on the pads is still searching for work, but such is the case for Martin Brodeur who has shown his age lately with his less-than-stellar play we've come to expect. Brodeur has amassed hours of highlights and trophy cases of accolades that would make any and almost every goalie who played before him and will follow him envious of his success. Sure, it was behind some of the stingiest defensive systems ever devised, but, at the end of the day, the puck has to be stopped and Brodeur did that well.

The problem, however, is that Brodeur is riding the wave of his own ego and history to try and get himself a job this season. There's no denying that Martin brodeur will be a first-ballot Hall-of-Fame player, but we'll go back to the famous hockey adage that spells out exactly what GMs are looking for: "what have you done for me lately?"

Martin Brodeur commented about how he wouldn't mind play for the Montreal Canadiens this season, and it appears RDS hockey analyst RDS Vincent Damphousse let the cat out of the bag on Monday when he stated on RDS program l'Antichambre that Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin had met with Brodeur agent Pat Brisson in July to discuss the possibility of Brodeur joining the Canadiens. This, of course, stopped the hockey world in its tracks, prompting massive speculation that backup Peter Budaj will be traded to make room for the incoming Brodeur.

Did anyone watch the playoffs last season? There was this Tokarski kid who did a pretty admirable job in place of Carey Price AND who started ahead of Peter Budaj against the Rangers. Dustin Tokarski deserves an opportunity more than Brodeur does if one of Price or Budaj falters or is injured, so why are we even discussing Brodeur-to-Habs in the first place?

I can tell you why: because Vincent Damphousse has an opinion.

I'm not faulting Damphousse for his opinion at all. Heck, you're reading this because I have an opinion. What Damphousse said is actually pretty accurate when it comes to what happened IN JULY, but making it sound like the Canadiens are still interested is something the media seems to be doing. I'm pretty sure there were 29 teams - New Jersey being the exception - that gave the idea of signing Brodeur some consideration, and there were a handful of teams who made contact with Pat Brisson to see if his client was interested in playing backup netminder behind a younger, better goaltender. The fact that this is news is astounding to me when this is entirely what free agency is all about!

Look, for an "elite" netminder, Brodeur was simply awful last season. He went 19-14-6. He posted a .901 save percentage (45th-best), a 2.51 GAA (26th-best), and had three shutouts (22nd-best). The Devils played mostly a defensive style again, and he was still nearly .500 on the season. I get that the Devils struggled to score goals, but an elite netminder would probably steal you a few more games.

Comparatively, Peter Budaj was 10-8-2. He posted a .909 save percentage, a 2.51 GAA, and one shutout in fifteen less games than Brodeur appeared in. Tokarski, who appeared mostly in the playoffs, went 2-3-1. He posted a .916 save percentage, a 2.60 GAA, and didn't have a donut in the playoffs. I don't know why everyone is so excited to see Brodeur in the bleu-blanc-et-rouge when both Budaj and Tokarski are just as good and are willing to sit behind Price. While Brodeur claims he would be willing to watch price from the best seat in the house, his tune has apparently changed from the beginning of the summer when he said,
"I've got to see what the opportunities are. I'm not going to go somewhere where I don't feel comfortable," he said. "If I go somewhere as a No. 2 goalie, it's going to be a team that has a really good chance to win a Stanley Cup. If I go for a No. 1 job, it's going to depend on the situation. I think there are teams that can use me."
You don't talk about starting jobs if you're content in being a backup. You talk about challenging the incumbent for the opportunity and pushing the other guy to be better. Personally, Martin Brodeur is saying all the right things right now, but you know that competitive edge in him still burns to be a starting goaltender in the NHL.

The other thing? Brodeur didn't want to "mess up the cards for the Devils" by re-signing there, yet he's willing to come in for one season and set back the development of Tokarski and forcing a trade of a reliable backup goalie in Peter Budaj? Wow.

I know he's close to 700 wins in his career. I get that he's trying to nail down every possible achievement he can before his 42 year-old body no longer performs as he expects it. However, he should have just kept his mouth shut and played his 20-30 games in New Jersey behind Cory Schneider. Everyone would have been happy, and there would be all of these rumors and speculations on "What Will Marty Do". Instead, a man whose legacy was cemented in the very books he helped write will now fade from the game in the most unimaginable way because he wasn't happy with what he had.

The grass isn't always greener. Especially when it's bleu-blanc-et-rouge.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!


Anonymous said...

Nobody say "Sacre bleu" in Quebec province. Never.

Otherwise, good blog!

Teebz said...

LOL. Thanks, Anonymous. I just needed a random French expression that didn't contain any profanity. :o)