Kukla's Korner

23 Intently Staring Goalies

Brodeur Pere et Fils

There’s been a lot going on around Martin Brodeur. He’s been struggling back from a cold start this season, with the annual discussions as to whether he should finally hang them up.

Brodeur has turned it around, and was back to his winning ways. Then came the phone call—his father, Denis Brodeur had been diagnosed with a brain tumor.

Martin Brodeur digested the news, and went on to shut out the Rangers that night. And the game puck would be for his father.

If you don’t live in Montreal or follow hockey photography, the name Denis Brodeur might not ring a bell. However, Denis Brodeur was a memorable goalie in his own right, winning the bronze medal at the 1956 Olympic games. If he had played during the expansion era, he might have had a different career. But in the six-team, one goalie a team era of the NHL, that wasn’t in his future. He played in the Senior leagues and for a short time in the AHL before going on to his next career.

And what a career that was. Brodeur became the photographer at the Montreal forum, and for over 40 years, captured the NHL games in his own style. In one of his many books, he instructed young photographers to aim at the goalie, since that’s where the action was. Brodeur’s photos are slices in time for the NHL.  His work has a depth and composition that isn’t often seen in sports photography.

Here’s a sample of some of Brodeur’s work:


  • 30 Ans de Photos de Hockey
  • Les Grands du Hockey
  • Jeux Cocasses au View Forum
  • Goalies Guardians of the Net
  • And of course, there’s the Martin Brodeur book “Brodeur: Beyond the Crease”.

    Some of these may be out of print in English or entirely out of print. If you check the used book searches, you should find copies available, especially through Canadian book dealers. The NHL acquired the Brodeur collection of over 100,000 photos in 2006.


    If we’re lucky, we’ll see a compendium of Brodeur’s work—it’s well worth it.


    Dave Stubbs from the National Post writes about the Brodeurs:

    The 81-year-old Brodeur is recovering quickly from brain surgery last week. But it is only part of a remarkable story that is one of startling coincidence, tight family bonds and the focus of a truly great athlete.

    Back up two weeks: The text message came a few hours before New Jersey Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur skated onto Madison Square Garden ice Feb. 7 to face the New York Rangers.

    “Our father has a tumour on his brain,” Dénis Brodeur Jr. texted.

    The father, who had been suffering bouts of dizziness, had a CT scan on Feb. 6. The results came back the following afternoon. It was cancer.

    Dénis Jr. won’t often disturb his brother’s NHL game-day focus, which is an almost airtight bubble of concentration. But there was no postponing this.

    Martin digested the news, then strapped on his equipment and stopped 30 Rangers shots in a 1-0 New Jersey victory.

    It was the 117th regular-season shutout of Brodeur’s Hall of Fame-bound career. The goalie had saved a souvenir puck from each of his 116 shutouts and 23 more in the playoffs. He had 1381⁄2 in his trophy case; Brodeur sawed a puck in half in 1996 to share with Buffalo’s Dominik Hasek, with whom he had duelled in a goalless game.



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      Tags: denis+brodeur, goalie, martin+brodeur, nhl


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    About 23 Intently Staring Goalies

    23 Intently Staring Goalies comes from the 23 close-up photos of goalies that used to line the walls of my office.

    On the good side, it kept down interruptions, but it also made sure I had to leave my trash outside my door if I wanted it picked up.

    I've been watching and analyzing goaltenders for going on 40 years. Some of that was spent drawing goalies on my grade 8 math homework. Then it was taking my card decks and printouts to Indianapolis Racer games. Luckily, the Internet took off, and by 1991 I was half of the duo that would ultimately become the Plaidworks hockey mailing lists. I wrote "Handicapping the Goalies' for the San Jose Sharks mailing list, and took a lot of photos of goalies in action. I have around 5000 slides of mostly goaltenders in action from 1989 through 2001 from the WHL, IHL and NHL. Since I've gone digital, I've added about 10,000 more images to the library. During summers and when the league went dark, I was reading through multiple SF By area news papers, tracking ice hockey from the 1917 recreational leagues up through the California Seals.

    We'll be talking about goalies and goaltending. We'll talk about whats going on now, who's in the system, and when the doldrums hit, I'll haul something out of the big bag of history, or something from the photo archives. We'll talk about who's hot and why, and who's not and what they can do to get back on track. We'll take a look at the trends in scouting goalies, and why a style may work for one team but not another. I'll battle with my dictation software to get it to understand Bryzgalov and Bobrovsky.

    It should be interesting--hope you want to come along for the ride!