In addition to notching his record-setting 104th shutout on Monday, New Jersey Devils
goalie Martin Brodeur
was able to stash away puck No. 103.5.
You're probably asking right about now, why not 104?
While Brodeur has always made it a point to keep all those pucks from the games in which he posted a shutout throughout his 16-season career, there was one sticky situation that occurred Dec. 23, 1996, when he and Buffalo Sabres
goalie Dominik Hasek
battled to a 0-0 tie at Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford.
It was the last shutout of the calendar year for both goalies -- each stopped 37 pucks. For those in attendance, it was without question one of the most dazzling displays of goaltending ever showcased by two legendary keepers.
But, like Brodeur, Hasek was also one to hold on to those pucks after posting a shutout.
So then, what would Brodeur, seven years younger than Hasek, do now?
"I usually try and collect the pucks, but I didn't really have a chance to get the game puck after that one because Dom picked it up," Brodeur recalled. "I asked our public relations director at the time if he would ask Dom if he'd share the puck with me because I was into collecting the pucks."
As the story goes, Hasek agreed -- but with one exception.
"Dom would have the puck cut in half but he said he wanted me to sign his half and that he'd do the same for my half so that we'd never forget who we shared it with," Brodeur said. "So I signed my half and we have the same thing now."
Hasek would produce 81 shutouts in 16 NHL seasons. Brodeur, of course, picked up career shutout No. 104 on Monday on 35 saves in a 4-0 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins
The scoreless tie was only the second of Brodeur's career -- he also made 24 saves in a 0-0 stalemate against the New York Islanders
and goalie John Vanbiesbrouck
on Dec. 1, 2000.
"You get into these games and it's tough to tell the difference between them," Brodeur said. "There were only two 0-0 games that I ever played. The first against Hasek and then the other against Vanbiesbrouck, so you always have kind of a recollection about the game itself but to remember one particular moment or save, is tough."
Fortunately, Brodeur wasn't forced to make a deal with Vanbiesbrouck for the puck that night. Vanbiesbrouck, incidentally, finished with 40 shutouts in 18 seasons.
"No, I was able to get it -- Beezer didn't want it," Brodeur grinned.
Contact Mike Morreale at email@example.com