Martin Brodeur: Best Goalie Ever (and statistical proof to back it up)

Want to start an argument amongst goalies (or non-goalies for that matter)?  Just ask them “who is the best NHL goalie ever?”

Click for video of Martin Brodeur talking about breaking Terry Sawchuk's shutout record

Regardless of era the statistics point to one man:  Martin Brodeur.  You can talk about the neutral zone trap all you want but every goalie knows a shutout is as fragile as pond ice in March… one small slip up and it’s over.   A bouncing puck, a deflection off your own player, a shot off the inside of the post instead of the outside (or in my case, once shooting the puck into my own net… don’t ask) and a shutout vaporizes in an instant.  Just mention the word “shutout” when a goalie is close to recording one and see what kind of reaction you get!  And now Brodeur has more of them than any other goalie in history. Continue reading

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Resume the Countdown, Unless You’re Name is Clemmensen, then it’s “Sent Down”

Good news for the Devils is bad news for Patrick Roy’s career wins record and Scott Clemmensen’s mode of transportation.

Brodeur is set to return after suffering an elbow injury that required surgery to repair.

Brodeur is set to return after suffering an elbow injury that required surgery to repair.

Martin Brodeur is scheduled to start tomorrow night against the Avalanche as he returns from surgery to repair a torn biscep muscle.  Unless you’re an Eastern Confernce foe you’re probably happy to see Brodeur return to the crease.  If you’re a fan of the Canadian Olympic team you’re probably ecstatic.  If you’re Scott Clemmensen on the other hand you’re getting ready to ride the buses again. Continue reading

2008 Has Been Year of the “Backup”

Marc-Andre Fleury returned to the Pittsburgh net tonight for the first time since injuring his groin a month ago, just one of many highly-paid #1 goalies who have missed significant playing time this season therefore thrusting his respective backup into a starting (and sometimes “starring”) role.  What’s significant about that?  Well for starters, never before has there been such a huge disparity between the salaries of A-level goalies vs. everyone else.   Until this past week Danny Saborin has kept the Penguins in each of their games compiling a 6-6-1 record with a .911 SV%.  Are those the numbers of a number one?  Not really, but the Pens have remained within striking distance of the Rangers and Flyers which is exactly what teams should expect from backups, i.e. give them a chance to win when the number one is out.  For 1/10th the cost ($512k vs. $5M for Fleury) Saborin did his job.  Here’s a look at some of the other backups finding themselves with a chance to play in the limelight this seaon.

Tim Thomas shooting for the number one position.

Tim Thomas shooting for the number one position.

Continue reading

Mixed Emotions About Avery’s Suspension

I despise Sean Avery.  I think all goalies, including the ones on his team, hate Sean Avery.  He’s a pompous ass who deserves to have his head forcibly inserted into said ass by an opponent.  But the NHL has no place in handing down any suspension, let alone six games.  It was a stupid public comment and should be addressed by his employer but the real retribution should come on the ice.

I don’t know for sure but I have to assume from his interview afterward that even Stars goalie Marty Turco has no use for Avery and would like to see him dealt with in a more appropriate manner.  Of course Turco remembers what Avery did to Marty Brodeur last season and to Rangers’ goalies Henrik Lundqvist and Steve Valliquette this season.  Do you really think Turco is going to side with Avery over fellow Olympians Brodeur and Lundqvist?

Avery getting in the face of Brodeur in '07-'08 playoffs

Avery getting in the face of Brodeur in '07-'08 playoffs

Avery pestering Lundqvist earlier this season

Avery pestering Lundqvist earlier this season

Avery yapping at Valiquette during warmups

Avery yapping at Valiquette during warmups

Continue reading

Put the Record Books Back on the Shelf

martin-brodeur-injuryThe countdown to Marty Brodeur’s re-writing of the goalie record book had just gotten started when it came to a grinding halt today as the Devils announced that Brodeur would be out 3-4 months after having surgery to repair a torn muscle in his left arm.

martin-brodeur-patrick-roy-memorabiliaBrodeur needs 7 wins to tie Patrick Roy for most career wins (542)  and 5 shutouts to tie the career mark set (104) by Terry Sawchuk.  The countdown to Roy’s mark looked like the record would be Brodeur’s outright before the end of November.  Timing on the shutout mark was a lot tougher to predict (Brodeur has 2 this year in 11 games) but it seemed like it too would fall before the season was finished.  Now it looks like Brodeur will still have a really good shot at Roy’s record this season as he should return with more than a month left in the schedule.  Can he get 5 shutouts in 15-20 games?  If anyone can it would be Brodeur.

The bigger questions are A) how do the Devils make the playoffs without Brodeur and B) what will this do to the goalie picture for Team Canada at the 2010 Olympics?

Kevin Weekes certainly has the talent to carry a team but has had some bad luck (in terms of the team in front of him) when he’s had the starter role in his NHL career.  Lou Lamoriello always pulls together good talent for the Devils and they seem to be playing beyond expectations so far this year, so I’m looking forward to watching how Weekes responds to this opportunity.

martin-brodeur-olympic-maskAs for the Olympic team, obviously there’s a lot of time between now and then.  Brodeur is one of the fiercest competitors in hockey so I would never bet against him.  If the recovery goes well then I think the Olympic picture remains the same as it was last week.  One thing I know for sure is shooters will be going high glove side when Brodeur comes back in March.

I figured it only fair to link to Damien Cox’s coverage of Brodeur’s injury since he co-wrote Brodeur’s autobiography.

Lord Stanley resides in California… is the Vezina Next?

Ask any NHL writer or hockey fan “who is the best goalie?” and for the last few years the overwhelming answer was always the same: Martin Brodeur. Yes, guys like Roberto Luongo and Marty Turco were mentioned in the same breath but in the end it has been Brodeur winning the Vezina three of the last four years. One goalie who hasn’t really been mentioned at all in that debate (but should have been) is now making his strongest case yet: San Jose’s Evgeni Nabokov.

evgeni_nabokov.jpg

Tenders Lounge is located in San Francisco, one hour north of the Shark Tank, so we’re a little biased towards our local goalie but Nabby’s numbers look good from anywhere. Even from New Jersey. Nabokov leads the league in wins with 46 and would have a chance at tying Brodeur’s record for wins in a season (48) but Sharks coach Doug Wilson has decided to play Brian Boucher in one of the Sharks’ last two games (read more about that decision here). Continue reading

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