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This ESPN ‘Which player was better in their prime’ contest compares goaltending contemporaries

ESPN's Paul Grant's made some...Interesting..."Who was better in their prime?" choices in pitting Wendel Clark against David Clarkson and then Wayne Gretzky versus Sidney Crosby, but today, he at least offers a pair of players who were contemporaries at one time in Martin Brodeur and Patrick Roy:

The case for Brodeur: Brodeur is 41 and in the twilight of his career. But what a career. One Calder, four Vezinas and five Jennings trophies, most of the latter won largely on his back. Oh, by the way, three Stanley Cups and two Olympic gold medals. There's no denying Brodeur played in a solid defense-first organization, but he made the big saves when he was being counted on in the biggest games, no small skill to have. In his prime, Brodeur was fundamentally strong, played very square to the puck and did it without relying on Michelin Man equipment like some of his peers. And his prime seems to have inexplicably extended to at least 2012, when he dragged the underdog Devils to the Cup finals, his sixth such appearance. He broke the 40-win mark an amazing eight times and four times hit 10 shutouts or more. Heading into his 20th season, all with the Devils, Brodeur is looking to add to his record wins total. Few superstars in the game have been as reliable as Brodeur.

The case for Roy: The ultra-confident Roy had an amazing career. Three Conn Smythes, five Jenningses and three Vezinas. Oh, and four Stanley Cups. He was one of the most competitive goalies -- actually, athletes, period -- to walk the earth. Plus, he was a bit crazier than the average goalie, which is saying something -- it wasn't out of the realm of possibility for him to skate the length of the ice and throw down with the opposing goalie or the opposing goalie or the opposing goalie. His fire and cockiness rubbed people the wrong way -- who tells his coach, during a game, that he wants to be traded? -- but it got into the heads of opponents and helped contribute to his intimidation factor. The fact that he could wink at a stone-faced opponent made it all the more infuriating. He had a low goals-against average at a time when averages were higher than today; he posted shutouts in an offensive time; and he racked up the wins, hitting 40 three times before he retired and 35 wins in his last season, all in an era without shootouts. If ever a goalie could have been considered a team's emotional captain and de facto leader, it was Roy.

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Comments

Zqto's avatar

They arguing for second best?

Hasek was #1 at his prime, IMO

Roy was the only one that could get close, but I give The Dominator the edge
Brodeur was one of the best, but I think he was more constant than the other goalies.. His peak wasn’t as “epic” as Roy’s or Hasek’s peaks, as far as I remember

Posted by Zqto on 08/07/13 at 01:33 PM ET

Avatar

Hasek by a mile.

Brodeur might be the second or third best of the group of goalies that hit their primes in the 1990s, but I really believe he’s closer to being Arturs Irbe than Dominik Hasek. The Dominator was just unreal.

Posted by Sven22 from Grand Rapids on 08/07/13 at 02:07 PM ET

LiteWork's avatar

Brodeur is the most overrated Goalie ever. The Wins and Shutout records are misleading because of the strength of the Devils defense and the era he played in.

Brodeur is the Emmitt Smith of goalies and Hasek is Barry Sanders.

I still think Roy is the best goalie ever.

Posted by LiteWork on 08/07/13 at 02:13 PM ET

shanetx's avatar

The Barry:Hasek comparison doesn’t work.  Hasek produced in the playoffs.

Barry was more of a 07-10 Alexander Ovechkin.  His peaks were amongst the highest anyone ever reached but he had some major flaws in his game that no one cares to acknowledge and when he would disappear he would REALLY disappear.

Posted by shanetx from Floydada, Texas on 08/07/13 at 07:46 PM ET

Primis's avatar

Getting back to the original Q:  Brodeur or Roy?

It depends on the night.  Roy, really on his game, was considerably better than Brodeur ever has been.  That really isn’t up for debate IMO.

However when Roy was off, he was way OFF.  And it was probably easier to get into Patty’s head.

Posted by Primis on 08/07/13 at 10:23 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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