Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Alanah McGinley on 03/02/09 at 04:20 PM ET
After missing 50 games due to injury, Marty returned to the Devils’ lineup this past week recording three wins, including two shutouts to garner First Star of the Week honors. The three wins give him 547 for his 16-year NHL career, four behind all-time leader Patrick Roy who retired with 551.
Here is a transcript of his Q&A session with the media today, courtesy of the NHL.
Q. Is it possible that this injury, the silver lining could be that you’ll be fresher down the stretch and in the playoffs as you’ve ever been in your career?
MARTIN BRODEUR: Well, I hope so. I think you have to take every positive you can from an injury. Sometimes it’s hard to have them. But definitely not playing as many games, you know, we’ll see what that translates into, what kind of success in the playoffs.
Last time I haven’t played a lot was in ‘95 when we had a lockout, so it was for different reasons. But it definitely was a pretty good year for us.
Q. Can you explain to us a little bit about what you did when you weren’t playing hockey.
MARTIN BRODEUR: Well, you know, the first month was really hard because I was in a cast and I was in a brace, so I didn’t really do much. I think the second month was probably the toughest one because I was able to function a little bit, but not allowed yet to work out or do anything.
I started to do the rehab, as far as just going to a therapist, start moving my arm a little more. When the new year came, I think it was where it was more interesting for me. I got back in the gym, got back working out, was doing a lot more rehab work. Slowly I was able to get back on the ice and start skating.
Two weeks prior to my comeback was probably the toughest because I felt really good, but knowing that I wasn’t a hundred percent yet. The team was traveling a lot, so it made it a little hard.
It was a long process, something that hopefully I’ll never have to go through again.
Q. A question about the trade deadline. Is there a different mindset in a room when a team is surging, getting close to the top, as opposed to one in the middle of the pack, as far as anxiety leading up to the day?
MARTIN BRODEUR: Well, it is a little bit. I think when you’re pretty comfortable in your situation, as far as where you are in the standings and all, you always kind of say, Well, what’s your team going to do? You’re really worried about yourself more than anything else. Usually when you do well, they don’t want to change much of the chemistry of the team.
So I think the pressure of maybe making changes is a little different than when you’re in the seven, eight spot, even on the outside looking in. You’re going in and sometimes GMs are trying to make a big bang to see if they can jolt the rest of the season.
Definitely for us it’s maybe a little different this year because we don’t have to fight for that playoff spot ? not right now anyway.
Q. From your perspective, being out for so long, seeing the team from an outside perspective, is there an area you would like to see addressed, or do you not want to upset any kind of chemistry?
MARTIN BRODEUR: I think we’ve answered a lot of different things in the off-season with getting some size in Bobby Holik, Brian Rolston, Bryce Salvador. In the middle of the season added Brendan Shanahan for some depth and size also. So we did do a lot of tweaking during the off-season that came to the reason why we’re having a successful season. The emergence of Zach Parise makes a big difference.
I don’t know what the answer to that is. I think Lou is going to make the right decision. He always does. We definitely feel we have a great opportunity to do well. Still a lot of games to go, but we feel good about our situation. So sometimes, you know, you’ll make the decision if we need somebody or not.
Q. As you get closer to the milestones and records, are you comfortable with people saying you’re the greatest goalie of all time, being in that conversation?
MARTIN BRODEUR: It’s never comfortable to hear that. When people tell you stuff like that, you don’t like to believe it. It’s understandable. I think I’m going to go and try to accomplish some pretty big milestones or establish some records. I mean, it’s normal that people will talk about it.
But I don’t think as an athlete you can see yourself like that. I think if you do, it’s not the right way to approach who you are, where you want to be. I think you really have to stay humble when these things are approaching.
Q. You mentioned Zach Parise. How good is he? Pretty young player, but putting up very good scoring numbers. And is this the first New Jersey team in a long while that can score tons of goals and it doesn’t put quite as much pressure on the goaltender to win the games 2-1?
MARTIN BRODEUR: Your first question, I think Zach, people are starting to recognize his talent. We’ve had him for a few years in New Jersey. I think this year is probably the first year that I think his responsibility as a player has grown big time. He’s killing penalties, doing a lot of different things. I think it just translates in him being a more complete player.
He went to the All-Star Game this year and I think he’ll be a permanent guy every year. He’ll be a shoo-in to be one of the top players in the league just because of how he is, how he conducts himself. He’s really come along really well with all the responsibility the team has given him.
Your second question, you know, through the years, you had teams, you play with what you have. I think we always did a great job with the coaching staff that was in place in New Jersey, always to try to maximize what we had. Sometimes we had to play defensively to be successful and other times, like in 2000, it was okay to score goals, don’t match up and fight fire with fire when we had one of the greatest lines with Arnott, Sykora Elias, at that time was one of the best lines in the league.
So this year is similar. We feel we have the horses to go out and score goals. But we’re still a good defensive team. Nobody wants on our team to really take away from what we do defensively and go through some tough stretches on our defense. We concentrate on playing well and we believe the depth and the size of our hockey club will help us do the right things in the offensive zone when the defensive zone is taken care of.
Q. What is the secret to getting shutouts? Patrick Roy got 66. You’ve got a hundred. You played about the same amount of time. As the game wears on, are you thinking of shutouts?
MARTIN BRODEUR: I think the fact that for a lot of years we didn’t score many goals, sometimes I had to win the game 1-0. It’s all about winning the game. When you’re in a tight game, it’s easier for everybody to make a commitment, knowing the next goal we can go to overtime. I think guys are bearing down a lot more.
It’s a pride factor. In our organization, for the longest time, even now, they take a lot of pride in shutting down teams. People blamed us about playing defensively, but we loved it, people said that about us. We really took a lot of pride in playing defensively.
So when you get to these games, 4 or 5-0, it’s easy to score a lot of times because your team is not concentrated on playing well the game, you just want goals. That’s not the philosophy we’ve had in New Jersey.
Q. Talk a little bit about your connection with the New Jersey fans, that you’re back, how happy they are.
MARTIN BRODEUR: Well, it was pretty nice the other night when we played against Colorado. I’ve been for so long playing in the same organization. Just to be back, it was nice just the way they welcomed me, applauding me for every save I made, every time I touched the puck. It’s funny. I said after the game, it’s usually on the sarcastic side when a goalie stops a puck from a redline.
But it’s been a great relationship. I think our fans, especially in the last couple years with the new building, it’s been a great turnaround. A lot of young people going out to the games. We’ve been drawing real well in our new building. It’s kind of a nice time right now.
Q. A week ago when we talked, you said you weren’t really worried about the records, that they would come, you just wanted to see how things went. Now three starts, three wins, two shutouts later, are you starting to think about those records?
MARTIN BRODEUR: Well, you know, a little bit. Everybody’s been talking about it. Every time I move closer to them, people are mentioning it. It’s hard not to think about it.
But, again, I’m concentrated on getting my game to the level that I need to be when the playoffs come. It’s nice. I think it’s a great start for me. Especially coming back from an injury I didn’t expect. I didn’t have much expectation about the way I would come back and how quickly I was able to get some wins.
But definitely now, you know, being on the eve of it, it’s always something that will be in the back of my mind. Like I said, hopefully we’ll do it really quick so we can move on.
Q. On that note, your dad obviously has a long history in the game. How much do you know about Terry Sawchuk?
MARTIN BRODEUR: You know, not much. Not as much as I should actually. I think his name has been brought up to me so much that definitely it’s something that I will do in the next couple weeks.
Q. You’ve been off for such a long time. What were your expectations coming back? Could you have even envisioned playing so well coming back, let alone back-to-back shutouts?
MARTIN BRODEUR: No, not really. Like I said earlier, like my expectations weren’t that big. I just wanted to go out and feel good and be second nature again playing hockey. It’s been for so long that I haven’t played games, I was a little worried how I was going to feel in there.
After the first game, that was pretty tough. Second and third game, I just felt natural in there. I felt that I belonged, you know, in the games and stuff.
But the expectation for me was just having fun again. I’m coming into a good hockey club in New Jersey and I want to follow the path of what these guys started building all year long.
Q. A lot of people had the Devils pegged for dead after you went down. Scott Clemmensen really played well for the Devils, kept them in the race. Can you talk about his importance to the team, how well he’s played.
MARTIN BRODEUR: I think it was definitely a great surprise to everybody. I think Scott came in, and it was a tough situation. I think everybody pegged on Kevin Weekes to be the guy to take the work load. Clemmer got his chance to play and played real well and didn’t give a chance to Weekesy because he played so well.
That definitely made a difference in the way I was able to come back. I didn’t have to worry about the positioning of my team. I think he took care of that. I wish him the best moving forward now.
Q. During the few months when you were recovering from the injury, did you have many moments you had to fight a little bit of doubt about your ability to come back at the level you set for yourself over the last few years?
MARTIN BRODEUR: Not much because I think just because of the nature of my injury, it’s the elbow. It’s not like your knees or your groin or your hip that really can kind of tweak your mobility or whatever as a goalie that you need a lot. So I didn’t have that doubt that much.
You know what, the doctors, they kept on telling me, Marty, you’ll see in a week you’ll feel like that, in two months you’ll be like that. They were right on the dot about everything they talked about. They made me feel real confident that I was going to be able to go back healthy.
After that, it’s about your game. I think that’s where the doubt comes in a little more. It’s like when you come in, it’s four months, these guys have been playing high?paced hockey for the last four months. The playoffs are coming. There’s a big push. So for me it was like the level of play where I was going to be at.
I’m still looking at it to be a challenge for me. Even though I’ve won my first three games, I still want to make sure I take baby steps towards getting where I’m supposed to be.
Q. You talked a little bit about the records, how you’re approaching them. How do you look at the two different records individually? Does either one mean something different to you than the other? Having both those records in your sights, is that a little different than having just one or the other?
MARTIN BRODEUR: I don’t know. I think for me the most important one would be the wins. I think when you play hockey, you play to win. When you win, everybody’s happy. That’s the bottom line.
Shutouts, I think if you win enough, you’ll have shutouts. You’ll have a chance to creep up on that record. I’ve been fortunate enough to play on good teams and that’s the reason why I’m approaching both records.
But, again, the importance of them are not too big a thing for me. Especially like the shutout one, that one just happened. It’s hard. You don’t get up in the morning and say, I’m going to shut them down. You get up and say, I want to win this game. That’s sometimes the way you have to go through it.
Q. Is there something in the water in New Jersey, something they feed to the goalies? Is there a reason you’ve been so successful over a long period of time? And now Scott Clemmensen comes in for these games you missed and he’s able to be so successful. Is it Lou, the legacy of having a defensive-minded team, something in the coaching staff? Is there something you can pin down as to why you’ve been so successful?
MARTIN BRODEUR: I don’t know. I think it’s been a good organization to play for. I think they care about the way they play hockey. Defensively, we’ve been as good a team in the league in the past 15 years or so.
Definitely I think the importance of paying attention to details all the time, being accountable for everything you do, that comes from our coaching staff and definitely from our general manager. I’ve had a great relationship with my goalie coach all these years, and he’s been goalie coach also with Clemmers and Weekesy and Mike Dunham. There’s a lot of guys that came through and did well with our hockey club also.
Q. You mentioned your new building. Last year there were worries you wouldn’t have that sort of intimidation factor you had in the Meadowlands. Since you probably will have it in the opening round, can you talk about how your team is getting comfortable in its new surroundings.
MARTIN BRODEUR: I think it’s important. You always want to make your life a lot easier. I think now, you know, being our second year in this building, I think now it’s home to us. It’s what we’re used to go to every day. Practice or game is the same thing for us. Just feel comfortable.
The support of our fans has been unbelievable. I know it’s not a Canadian team, don’t get me wrong, a club like Montréal or Toronto or other places like that. But, you know, I think it’s coming along real well. Even our fans is calling the Rock being a home place for them also.
Q. There’s so much talk in Canada about the Olympics. I think while you were out for an extended period of time, people started looking around and thinking that maybe Marty is not going to be there, conceded the spot to Roberto. Now Roberto got hurt, came back slowly. Did you make a statement here about the old guy not being done yet in terms of starting for Canada in 2010?
MARTIN BRODEUR: You know, it’s a long ways from now. But it’s in my mind. I’d love to participate at the Olympics, there’s no doubt about that. I’ve been in three of them so far and had great memories from it and definitely would like to add some more. Especially being in Canada, it would be an awesome place for me to be.
We’ll see. They’ll make the decision when it comes down to it. But I concentrated last summer to get myself ?? knowing I’m getting a little older, you got to prepare yourself differently. So I definitely worked really hard last summer to be in great shape, coming into training camp, wanting to have a good season.
Definitely got disrupted a little bit with my injury, but got back at it early this new year, working out, getting back in the best shape I can to finish the season strong.
Again, these are things that are out of my control, what people think or if I’m going to get picked or not. But definitely I’ll welcome the challenge to be part of the Canadian team again.
Q. You were 3-0, two goes allowed. I know you said you had no expectations coming back. But looking back, did you surprise yourself at all with what you were able to do in those three games?
MARTIN BRODEUR: A little bit. I was surprised how quickly I felt good in the net. I thought it was going to take me a little longer to really feel at ease, not being nervous, not worry about making decisions, playing the puck, doing different things. I thought it was going to take a little longer to get used to it.
I’ve had some great practices. You know, games is different. After my first game, I didn’t feel like my old self. It took me that one game. I came in against the Panthers and felt really good. Definitely yesterday I felt good also.
Yeah, it was a little bit surprising to a certain extent, like I said, because my expectation, I didn’t know. I don’t have anything to fall back on because it’s the first time that I have done it.
Q. It looked like the defense in front of you was playing so well, too, that it was making your job that much easier. It’s a no-name defense. Can you touch of these guys playing in front of you.
MARTIN BRODEUR: Well, you know, these guys, you got to give them a lot of credit. They’ve been playing really good hockey all year long. I’ve noticed that for me in the last three games, you know, how fast we are. I’m mobile. We get the pucks. We’re making plays. We have good support.
Our defense, we don’t rely on two or three like top players like we used to, with Niedermayer, Stevens, all these guys. It’s a five-man unit the way we play defensively. Our system gives us a great opportunity to support each other in our own zone.
I think these guys, you know, they’ve been playing together all year now, and you can see the cohesiveness has set in in their plays. There’s a lot of good communication between each other. It’s been pretty nice for me anyway to play behind them.
Q. Touching on records. Your 40 wins two years ago, there’s been a little talk of Kiprusoff taking a run at the record. Are you surprised somebody is looking at trying to get 50? And do you think, given the fact that Mike likes to play his number one guy till he falls over, that he has a decent shot at it?
MARTIN BRODEUR: I was looking at it. He’s definitely got a shot at it. He’s got lots of games left. You still got to win them. But I think definitely in Calgary, it’s a pretty good hockey club there, so he’ll have a great chance.
That’s what it is. You got to play a lot of games if you want to get to that number. That’s the bottom line. It’s almost impossible if you play 60, 65 games, to be able to break that record. I’ve done it with playing over I don’t know exactly the amount of games, but it was definitely way over 70 games. Kipper has been doing that for a lot of years.
For me, I appreciate that. I appreciate a goalie that wants to be in the net, wants to be successful every single day. I think he’s definitely on his way of getting close or beating my record. Hopefully he’ll get 50. I think it will be a great mark for a goaltender to get.
Q. You’re not secretly saying I’d like him to get to 47, but… Or is it?
MARTIN BRODEUR: Well, you know what, I think he’s got to play until he can’t. I think when you’re a competitor, you play to win games.
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