Upon hearing the news that Schneider was going to earn the start against the Canucks, Martin Brodeur, the Devils' future Hall of Fame goaltender, told reporters he didn't think the situation was "going to change any time soon," but he'd be ready to take over if and when it does.
"It's still early," Schneider said after the team's morning skate Thursday. "I think we alternated starts at the beginning and a lot can happen now until the end of the year. We have a tough schedule of back-to-backs and, ultimately, it's about wins. I just have one and the team has one, so we need to win more games."
Schneider said the relationship between he and Brodeur made DeBoer's decision easier to grasp.
"You will have off nights, off stretches and good stretches and ups and downs, and we all know that Marty can still play, so he's a competitive guy and he'll work and compete to get back in the net," Schneider said. "I don't think anybody is counting him out yet. The team will need both of us to win and have success this season; we're both going to be relied upon."
What makes this such an unusual situation, however, is the fact Brodeur has been the team's mainstay between the pipes the past 20 years. The season didn't start well for the 41-year-old with the death of his father, which could still be weighing on him. But it was rather surreal to see a subdued Brodeur enter the locker room later than usual Thursday after practice and not have his locker stall surrounded by reporters.
"Marty is the ultimate team guy and competitor and I'm sure he wants to be in there; he wants to be the first guy in there every night and would play all 82 games if he could," Devils defenseman Andy Greene said. "At the same time, he's not going to sit here and break down the locker room. He's supporting us and ready to go when called upon."
Brodeur is 0-2-2 with a 3.40 goals-against average and .865 save percentage in four games this season; Schneider is 1-3-1 with a 2.21 GAA and .917 save percentage with one shutout in five games.
DeBoer was asked to comment on Brodeur's assessment of the goalie situation.
"I don't have an opinion on that," he said. "I'm not looking at it like [Schneider is now the No. 1 goalie]. That's all I have to say about that.
"Marty hasn't retired and I'm sure he's going to play some games here and play a role for us. We're going day-by-day, but both players have handled this like pros and that's as far as we're going to go with it."
DeBoer said both Brodeur and Schneider have similar personalities and that has made the game-by-game decisions easier to deal with.
"My history with great goaltenders isn't deep, but they all seem to have that common denominator which is the ability to shake off tough outings or goals," DeBoer said. "They both have those characteristics."
Schneider acknowledged how grateful he is that Brodeur has his back.
"It can make it a tough situation if you don't get along or don't agree with the situation, but he and I have gotten along well and we really have no issues," Schneider said. "Who knows what will happen. There are a stretch of games here where I'm getting a chance to take the net, but maybe he gets the opportunity once again. I don't think anybody is writing Marty off. He'll be competing for the net all year long."
Schneider then was asked if he has been satisfied with his play this season. The one difference in playing for the Devils he said is the fact he sees fewer shots per game than he did as the backup to Roberto Luongo with the Vancouver Canucks in previous seasons.
"A couple of goals I allowed I haven't been happy with, especially the timing of them," Schneider said. "It's just about adjusting to systems and styles and sometimes getting familiar with seeing 20 to 25 shots a game, instead of 35 to 40. That means you really have to be on top of your game and sharp and ready for any chance that comes."
Schneider has seen an average of 26.4 shots per game with the Devils this season. When he played for the Canucks in 2012-13, he faced 27.8 shots per game in 30 games.
"Facing fewer shots could be tough; it's something you have to work on to stay mentally engaged since your rhythm and timing is a lot better if you're seeing pucks every other minute," Schneider said. "There are times you don't see a puck for 10 minutes [in New Jersey] and there's no flow to your game. It's not an excuse but a reality of the game and sometimes playing in this system, which I feel is very beneficial.
"It's just something you have to cope with and be better at. … For me, making a big save when the team needs it to keep the game close or keep a lead are important. So, obviously, there is room for improvement."
Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter at: @mikemorrealeNHL
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