"That one part is done and the second part will be the next win, and definitely to have a chance to do it in New Jersey is awesome. The fans have been really supportive throughout my career here in Jersey. It always seems when I break records or do something it's on the road, so it will be nice to do it at home."
-- Martin Brodeur
But more than 48 hours have passed since the home crowd at the Bell Centre gave the visiting goalie a spontaneous standing ovation late Saturday night, ample time for the New Jersey Devils star goalie to turn the page.
Now, breaking the record is on his mind, and he'll get his first crack at win No. 552 Tuesday night at 7 p.m. ET (NHL Network) at the Prudential Center against the Chicago Blackhawks, in front of the fans that adored him since he broke into the League as a 19-year-old in 1992.
"That one part is done and the second part will be the next win, and definitely to have a chance to do it in New Jersey is awesome," Brodeur said during a rare morning press conference Tuesday. "The fans have been really supportive throughout my career here in Jersey. It always seems when I break records or do something it's on the road, so it will be nice to do it at home."
As usual, Brodeur looked more comfortable than anybody in the room on a game-day morning.
He sat and held a 16-minute press conference, answering a lot of questions from a handful of reporters who rarely show up on this side of the Hudson River, or even in this part of the country.
He was asked, 'What is different about (Tuesday)?' The answer: Doing this press conference, that's all.
"Apart from doing this (press conference) it will be the same," Brodeur said. "I'll go back home, watch a little TV, have lunch, try to sleep a little bit, wake up and come to the rink. It's pretty simple. I don't do anything differently.
"In Montreal it was similar. (A morning press conference) is not something I'm used to and hopefully it's the last time I do it before a game. For me it's a game. It's been great. This is nice for me and it's nice for the team, but the ultimate goal is not this."
Of course, the ultimate goal is winning a fourth Stanley Cup, something that is looking more and more like a possibility as the Devils continue to challenge the Boston Bruins for the top spot in the Eastern Conference.
But considering Tuesday is all about the record at hand, Brodeur was asked if his goal is to inflate his wins total to a number that will ultimately be unattainable for anybody else?
Well, yeah, considering he doesn't plan on thinking about retirement at least until his current contract with the Devils runs out in 2012.
"My contract brings me to another three seasons here in New Jersey and I'm planning on honoring it, but you can't read into the future too much. I'll take it day-by-day on that," Brodeur said. "As far as the record, we'll try to break it as soon as possible and from there raise the bar to other goalies. That's what (Terry) Sawchuk did and Patrick beat him and then tried to raise it as high as he could. Definitely we'll be in position at the end, three years from now, to hopefully get a decent number that will be a tough one to achieve."
Regarding that contract, somebody asked Brodeur if he regrets never having the chance to experience the notoriety he would receive in a big city, say, for instance, the one that's only a $4 train ride away?
He brushed the question aside as if it were a weak shot from the point.
Continuing on with this subject, when asked what he is most proud of in his career to date, Brodeur said playing for one team, the one that drafted him in 1990 out of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
"Every time I came into a regular season or into the playoffs I thought I was going to win a Stanley Cup and I'm serious when I say that, every single year," Brodeur said. "You can not ask for more than that from an organization, so the thought of going somewhere else - like I said (Monday), my grass is green enough here. I don't need to look for somewhere else."
The press conference took a decided turn at about the 10-minute mark when the subject of Brodeur's rare, hybrid style of goaltending was brought up. Since this chase of history has turned into a reality, how Brodeur plays his position has been a hot topic of conversation.
The main question: Why, as a French-Canadian goalie who as a teenager idolized Patrick Roy, the innovator of the infamous butterfly style, did Brodeur go the way of the old stand-up goalie, one whose success is based on athleticism and reflexes?
"I don't know, I just probably couldn't play butterfly and maybe that's why I couldn’t use it," Brodeur said.
At this moment, his brother, Denis Brodeur, Jr., who was standing to the left of the cameras, doubled over in laughter. Brodeur, though, got serious with his answer when he started talking about his fears.
The only thing predictable about Brodeur these days is his personality.
It never changes, even when he could be only hours away from touching greatness the likes of which nobody has ever laid a hand on before.
Contact Dan Rosen at firstname.lastname@example.org.