NASHVILLE - In a career spanning 1,464 NHL games (including the playoffs), goalie Martin Brodeur has just about done it all.
Calder Trophy as the NHL’s top rookie? Yep.
Stanley Cup champion? Three times.
NHL All-Star Game? 10 of ‘em.
The only thing he hasn’t done is played for a team other than the New Jersey Devils. But he can cross that one off the list tonight, too.
Brodeur, the NHL’s all-time leader in games played, wins (688) and shutouts (124) will start for the Blues tonight after spending his entire 21-year career with the New Jersey Devils. Brodeur joined the Blues for practice last week after Brian Elliott sustained a lower-body injury. On Tuesday, the Blues signed the free agent to a one-year contract.
“I’ve been waiting for this opportunity for a little while and it’s finally coming in,” Brodeur said after the morning skate. “We’ll have fun with it.”
Brodeur boasts a 2.24 goals-against average and a .912 save-percentage in his outstanding career, which began shortly after he was drafted by the Devils in the first round (20th overall) in 1990.
But despite all the accomplishments and being 42-years-old, Brodeur isn’t ready to call it quits just yet.
“I’m living this dream and when you are living a dream and you really enjoy what you do, it’s hard to let go sometimes,” Brodeur said.
With a big division opponent and first place in the division on the line at this point in the season, Hitchcock said it’s the perfect time for Brodeur to start.
“He’s here to see if he wants to keep playing hockey and he wants to finish it on his terms, on his note,” Hitchcock said. “His legacy (with New Jersey) is not going to be affected by this. He’s going to finish it on his terms hopefully and whatever is written, it’s going to be written about how many Cups, how many wins, how many shutouts (he has)…he’s got numbers nobody is going to touch, and good on him, because he’s earned and deserved every bit of it.”
Brodeur will be making his first start since April 13. He has earned points in four of his last five starts against the Predators (3-1-1), and his last start against Nashville was a 15-save shutout on Nov. 10, 2013.
“I never really put a thought into when it was going to be done or how I’m going to feel. I just went year by year, especially at the end,” Brodeur said. “Two years ago, before we went on the Cup run in New Jersey, I thought ‘yeah, that’s enough.’ But I think I have a little more life into me because of the run and how fun it was and everything. That made me want to continue more.
“Now here I am.”
HAPPY TO HAVE HIM
Jaden Schwartz and Kevin Shattenkirk talked about how special it will be to share the ice with Brodeur tonight in Nashville. Here’s what each had to say.
Schwartz: “It’s definitely pretty cool. I watched him a lot growing up and he’s got a lot of accolades. Stanley Cups, most wins all-time (and) he’s a Hall of Famer so it’s pretty special to have him in our locker room.”
Shattenkirk: “The greatest Devil of all time and greatest goalie of all time in my book. One of the best in my generation, I think. It’s really cool to be able to share the locker room with a guy like this, and just getting to know him has been a blast. He’s someone I’ve always looked up to.
“If he has anything to say or feels that there’s an area in our game that needs to be changed or improved, I think everyone will listen to him. He comes in and he almost feels comfortable because he’s been doing this for so long. In that sense, he keeps us at ease.”
Tonight marks the third meeting of the season between the Blues and Predators. Nashville won 2-1 on Nov. 8, while the Blues took a 4-3 victory on Nov. 13. This is the first meeting at Bridgestone Arena.
The Blues have won six straight games in Nashville, including four straight in regulation.
Jori Lehtera has a goal and two assists in his two career games against the Predators.
Tonight’s game is available on FOX Sports Midwest and KMOX 1120 AM.