Growing up in New York, I was a Rangers’ fan and a goaltender.
As such, I loved Blueshirt masked men like John Vanbiesbrouck, Mike Richter, and now, Henrik Lundqvist. Vanbiesbrouck and Richter were the goaltenders of my childhood while Lundqvist came in during my senior year of college and has been my favorte netminder ever since.
Despite being a Rangers fan and loving the goaltenders above, there was always another masked man that I truly admired. I was just afraid to admit because of the backlash from Rangers fan that I would probably get.
The netminder I am talking about is Martin Brodeur, who is going to be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame on Monday, November 12. While he did finish his career as a member of the St. Louis Blues, something I still think is absolutely ridiculous, he will always be known as a New Jersey Devil and one that used to torment my Blueshirts.
Every time I got to see him play at Madison Square Garden, I considered it a treat. It was mesmerizing to watch him play the puck behind the net, great to see him make unbelievable glove saves, and really cool to see how he changed his style between the pipes over the years in order to adapt to the ever changing NHL game.
There were many other things that I admired about Marty. The first thing I admired is his unbelievable consistency.
All Brodeur did throughout his entire career is win hockey games. Marty ended his career with 691 career victories, which is 140 more than another Hall of Famer, Patrick Roy, who finished second all time.
Speaking of winning, he also won the following in his time in the league:
- Three Stanley Cups (1995, 2000, and 2003)
- Calder Memorial Trophy (1994)
- Two Gold Medals (2002 and 2010)
- Four Vezina Trophies (2003, 2004, 2007, and 2008)
- Five William Jennings Trophies (1997, 1998, 2003, 2004, and 2010)
I also admired his style of play. As a goaltender who grew up in Quebec, it was easy to see that Marty tried to emulate the play of Roy between the pipes.
This meant that Marty started his career out as a pure butterfly goaltender. At the time, that style was not exactly popular, but since it worked for Roy, Marty decided to play the same way.
With that said, his style changed over time. Instead of being butterfly goaltender, he used more a hybrid style of play, which is a way of saying that he combined the butterfly style with the stand-up style.
This meant that throughout Marty’s career, fans a ton of great glove saves, a lot of two pad stack saves, a lot of poke checks, and a lot of handling the puck. It is the latter in which he was perhaps the best in.
Because of how good Marty handled the puck and the things he could do it when given time, the league implemented the trapezoid rule. Thanks to this rule, playing the puck is limited to a certain area for goaltenders.
Something else I admired was the way he was with the media. This guy was always gracious, courteous, and was an open book.
Speaking with the media was always something he was extremely relaxed with. Nowadays, certain goaltenders will not speak to anyone on game days, but this was never the case with Brodeur.
Now, do I think he is the greatest goaltender of all time? I’m actually not really sure how to answer that. Whenever that question is asked, not only do I think of Marty, but I also think of guys like Terry Sawchuk, Roy, Jacques Plante, Dominik Hasek, and Ed Belfour.
What I do know is that Marty will go down as one of the greatest goaltenders to ever play the game and when it comes to the position, that is one heck of a special thing to accomplish.
*Photo: Martin Brodeur’s Twitter feed