Martin Brodeur isn't shy when it comes to talking about the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver. He wants to play, period.
"The closer it gets, the more I'm even going to think about it," Brodeur, already a three-time Olympian for Canada, told NHL.com. "Playing in the Olympics is a great honor and it's a lot of fun. My oldest is 13, the twins are 11 and even Anabelle at 6 knows what is going on. They know what the Olympics is all about and I have had great experiences of being in the Olympics. I would love to live it again."
Whether he gets to will remain the great unknown until next December, when Hockey Canada announces the final roster, but Brodeur has enough leverage now to already be on a very short list of candidates, despite the fact that he'll be 37 when the Olympic torch is lit in February 2010.
He only helped his cause by playing so well in his return from a devastating elbow injury that caused him to miss 50 games this season. The injury, a torn biceps tendon in his left elbow, was not career threatening and shouldn't pose a problem for Brodeur again.
"To me, the age is really irrelevant," Team Canada Executive Director Steve Yzerman told NHL.com. "For the most part he's been able to stay pretty healthy and I think he's learned to take care of himself. I sit and watch Nicklas Lidstrom, who is 38 and still playing extremely well. If players stay in shape and are fortunate to avoid major injuries, playing into their late 30s isn't an issue.
"Certainly Marty's age isn't going to hurt him at all. To me it's watching players play and how they're playing now, in this year's playoffs and into next season that will really determine who the real legitimate candidates are. Ages are irrelevant."
Yzerman said he's looking for goalies that are leaders and exude calm and confidence into a team. It's hard to find someone who fits the mold better than Brodeur, who won gold for Canada in 2002.
"Marty Brodeur has meant so much to Hockey Canada through the Men's Worlds and especially the Olympics. What he has done has been outstanding," Hockey Canada President and CEO Bob Nicholson told NHL.com. "He has been there for his country, for Hockey Canada, and it's what Marty Brodeur brings every day. His attitude makes the players on his team better. We don't get to see that like New Jersey does every day, but boy when you see it it's a special attitude.
"We're happy that he'd like to pay in 2010. Steve, Kevin (Lowe) and Ken (Holland) know what Marty has done. Marty Brodeur on top of his game? What a great leader to have in our room."
Yzerman can attest to that. He not only won gold with Brodeur in 2002 - the country's first gold in 50 years - but he roomed with him at the 1998 Nagano Games, when Brodeur was a backup to Patrick Roy.
"He's a great source of confidence for the guys that play with him," Yzerman said. "He's been through it all. He's a real leader and he's such a confident and calming influence, very relaxed, easygoing guy and settling guy in the locker room."
"I think the whole team feeds off of him because he's relaxed," Holland, Team Canada's associate director, told NHL.com. "He's confident and relaxed and you know he's going to play well. He is a superstar. He has the game down to a science in his head."
Nicholson said the choice of goalies is the most important because "it's the most important position.
"You can look at leadership, but you know how important goaltending is in hockey now," Nicholson said. "Can he win the game for you? That's the No. 1 question. If he's in between the pipes, can he win you a gold medal? That's what it will all come down to."
Of all the choices Hockey Canada has (Brodeur, Roberto Luongo, Marty Turco, Jean-Sebastien Gigeure, Carey Price), only Brodeur can say that he has won gold.
He'd love the opportunity to do it again.
"Your career is only so long and I’m going to try to fit everything in because I don't want to regret anything," Brodeur said. "I'll do everything I can to be ready and hopefully my game will be at a level that I'll be able to win for Canada."
Contact Dan Rosen at firstname.lastname@example.org.