Call him 'Money'
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"Marty is like the battery that makes us tick," Stevens says.
"The biggest thing is consistency," Stevens continued. "It's very hard at any position to be consistent all year. You try to be as consistent as you can and not have the lulls and the ups and downs. That's one thing that Marty has really done this year, he's been really consistent and that's tough for a goalie, so it's a tribute to him. Every game he has played he has played well. I can't remember any bad goals that he's given up. Every game we've had a chance to win and that's important, especially in those low-scoring games. Especially 1-0, 2-1, you have to have the goaltending to stay in those kinds of games.
"It's great to have Marty back there to make the big save and be a key guy," Stevens said "More so in the Playoffs. Marty also handles the puck very well, we all know that, and that puts pressure on teams that try to dump the puck in and chase it.
Brodeur can intimidate without raising his hands in a threatening manner.
"Every hockey player has to turn it up in the Playoffs and he's a hockey player," Stevens said. "He's gets in their heads because he doesn't give up a lot of goals and teams know they will be going up against a great goalie. That plays a big part psychologically. They know if they get down by one or two goals it's going to be tough to get back in it, especially with Marty back there."
Brodeur had a tremendous regular season, posting a 41-23-9 record, 2.02 goals-against average, .914 save percentage and nine shutouts. He became the first goalie in NHL history to post four-straight seasons with 40 or more victories. During the run to the Stanley Cup, Brodeur was 16-8 with a 1.65 GAA, .934 save percentage and seven shutouts, three of which came in the Finals.
Through the season of excellence, Brodeur had to cope with significant personal problems. But he never let the problems affect his play.
"I have a job to do," Brodeur said remaining focused. "People close to me have been watching to see how I would handle this. All I know is: even if there are important things happening in my personal life, I have a huge responsibility toward the Devils. It hasn't always been easy, but I have to be the best goaltender possible for them."
"I always said if I ever win the Vezina, it will probably be with the worst stats because of the years Dominik Hasek kept beating me," Brodeur said of Vezina losses to Hasek in 1997 and 1998. "I've had some great seasons and this year ranks up there in the quality of my play.
"It's nice to get this off my back," he continued. "Everybody is always like, 'I can't believe you don't have a Vezina.' And, they always ask me that question all the time. Now, it's over and I got it. It's definitely nice and it's a great accomplishment."
Brodeur also was named to the NHL All-Star First Team for the first time in his career. He already has two second-team berths.
While he didn't win the Hart Trophy as the regular season MVP, nor the Conn Smythe Trophy as the postseason MVP, Brodeur was quick to point out any disappointment was quickly dismissed by his third Stanley Cup.
"Through the years, with all the experience I have with it, I was disappointed a few years because I really thought I was going to be able to get it because of the stats I had," Brodeur said. "So, you just go out and do your best and play for your team and make things better. Then, awards will come and if they don't, at least you know you're going to have a great year and your team will be successful.
"For me, I don't need it (recognition). It's not something I thrive on. I know wherever I go people are appreciative of what I do and so are the fans around the League, so I don't need people to stroke me all the time to make me feel good. I just know what I can do.
Brodeur is now "the next one" among goaltenders with Patrick Roy having retired. Many of Roy's records could be challenged by Brodeur before he decides to move on from the goal crease. But for the indefinite future, don't count on seeing him go anywhere. Brodeur and New Jersey are a perfect fit.
"This bunch was awesome under pressure," he said of his teammates. "I just want to enjoy the ride. It's been an awesome ride for me. I've been fortunate to play on some great teams and given opportunities to be successful. I don't want to start thinking too much about these things on a personal level. I'd rather believe we're here as a team and we're going to win as a team. All these records will come in reach for me if I have success with my club.
"Just going to the rink every night knowing I have that chance to win the hockey game, that's all I care about."