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Brodeur tells Bettman he wants to roam again

Thursday, 12.10.2009 / 4:59 PM / NHL Insider

By Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- New Jersey Devils goalie Martin Brodeur is pretty excited to be on the verge of rewriting the entire record book for masked men.

But having the opportunity to represent Canada at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver would offer him something else other than League records.

Freedom.

Brodeur explained himself Thursday afternoon as a guest on The NHL Hour With Commissioner Gary Bettman on NHL.com and SIRIUS XM Radio.

"I'm looking forward to the Olympics because we won't have that trapezoid (behind the net)," Brodeur told Bettman. "So I'll be able to do my thing."

Ah, yes, the trapezoid -- that area establishing where goaltenders can play the puck behind the net without penalty. It was only a month ago the NHL's general managers opted not to adjust the trapezoid -- which was instituted following the lockout that wiped out the 2004-05 season.

"I'm a little disappointed because I like to play the puck a lot, so for me not to be able to roam around and be restricted to go into certain areas, I thought, was bad," Brodeur said. "I kind of understand with the way forechecking is and how you want to get people involved going into corners and not have the goalie kill the play."

Still, Brodeur offered an interesting point regarding the trapezoid that, perhaps, should be considered the next time the issue is discussed among the GMs.

"You're seeing a lot of injuries happen now because there's no more holding and the goalies can't help the defenseman, so more guys are taking a lot of big hits," he said. "It's harder for defensemen to defend themselves because of that trapezoid. I hope one day I'll have another chance to roam around, but in the meantime, I'm looking forward to the Olympics."

On Monday, Brodeur equaled one of the most prestigious goaltending marks ever established when he shut out the Buffalo Sabres to match Hockey Hall of Famer Terry Sawchuk with career shutout No. 103.

The Devils play their next four games at home -- Florida on Friday, Philadelphia on Saturday, Montreal on Wednesday and Ottawa on Dec. 18 -- before traveling to Atlanta on Dec. 19. So Brodeur could set the shutout record and surpass the record for career games played by a goalie within a span of seven days. Brodeur has played in 1,026 regular-season games, three fewer than Hall of Famer Patrick Roy.

Brodeur's victory against Carolina on Wednesday was the 576th of his career -- 25 more than any other goaltender in NHL history. He's also logged a League-record 60,642 minutes in net.

The records are nice, but Brodeur enjoys sharing the milestones with his teammates.

"Having a chance to be in the locker room with my teammates … I just play hockey for them," Brodeur said. "I know there's a lot of attention on certain things I'm trying to accomplish, but a lot of it is out of the control of everybody. I just want to play well and that's where my teammates are the best because they prepare just as hard, too. They just want to play well and win that game. The beauty of being a goalie is that you rely on everybody and if they're not successful in front of you, it'll be really hard for me to be successful."

The three-time Stanley Cup champion and 2002 Olympic gold medalist leads all NHL goaltenders this season in wins (19) and his 2.11 goals-against average ranks fourth in the League entering Thursday's games.

"I love the game; it's been a great ride," Brodeur, 37, said. "I enjoy playing with the young players. They help you stay young, I guess. I believed in this organization right from the get-go and I've been fortunate to play on some great teams. It helps a lot staying healthy, also, and I feel New Jersey has the best travel schedule to get around and that has helped my durability over the years."

He's also benefited from playing behind some of the top defensemen in the game.

"Scott Stevens and Ken Daneyko were mainstays back there and I enjoyed the time that Scott Niedermayer was with the team," Brodeur said. "(Niedermayer) was one of the most complete players I've ever played with. And today, Colin White is another big boy that's nice to have around. We've been playing together now for almost 10 years."

Even Bettman had no luck finding out whether or not Brodeur would get the start against Florida on Friday.

"I don't have any input in that -- it comes from the coaches," Brodeur said. "I'm ready for the game like any other player and I think after that, it's the coaches' decision to put me in or not. When you're doing well and streaking, coaches don't like to change a lot of stuff. But closer to the playoffs, it's also important to get your rest.

"Physically, it's not as demanding as a forward or defenseman to play every game as a goalie and the work load doesn't bother me. Mentally, though, that's where sometimes you need the break."

Contact Mike Morreale at mmorreale@nhl.com
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I'm just excited about the opportunity. I've been on the ice earlier than usual and in the weight room, pushing around a little more weights than usual. Every day I go into a workout with a smile on my face and ready to go. When you do have a little more responsibility, you want to take your lunch pail and get ready to work.

— Brian Elliott to Jeremy Rutherford of the Post-Dispatch on being the Blues' No. 1 goalie