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Brodeur eager for Olympic challenge

by Eric Marin / New Jersey Devils
Martin Brodeur was named to Team Canada's 2010 Olympic squad and spoke to the media before Wednesday's game versus Pittsburgh. The tournament begins Feb. 16 in Vancouver.

What did it feel like when you finally got the word?
Brodeur: It was nice. It’s a great honor. Our country lives and dies over these Olympics coming up. It’s a great honor to be a part of the first 23-man roster. You get nervous, even though I knew. I got the call this morning, even though I watched the show, I was still nervous about it. It was definitely nice to be named.

What made you nervous?
MB: It’s a big deal. It comes with a lot of responsibilities. I think it will be a great challenge, and it’s something that for all my career I’ve been taking a lot of pride in. Again, at my age, to get picked and be one of the top three goalies to defend our country in the Olympics is something pretty cool.

Is it different that it's going to be in (Vancouver) Canada?
MB: All of the Olympics I think our fans and everybody in the country is really into it. Definitely being in Canada, I think there’s more thrill about it. This summer I was playing golf and it was a charity for Mike Weir, and it’s like nobody was talking to any golfers, it was all about, “Bring back the gold!’ Everybody was going nuts. They’re closing movie theaters to (broadcast) the games. It’s going to be unbelievable. It’s something that because it’s in Canada, I think they’re just taking it to a different level as far as the excitement of it.

Will the pressure be the biggest obstacle?
MB: Pressure plays both sides. I think you have to deal with it properly but definitely it’s going to get attention. Hockey Canada is really good to take the distraction out of the game, and just go out and play. We’ll feel the support when we get there. I think we’re not going to get exposed to the pressure every day, for the guys that don’t play in Canada it’s a lot easier to say. I’m sure the Luongo’s and the guys playing for Canadian teams it’s got to be a little harder for them. It’s going to be a great pressure. Everybody expects us to do well, and we might as well give it all we got and not worry about it, because if you start worrying about these things…. I know everybody’s going to look at us and how we’re going to respond through pressure, but I think it’s going to be great to have.

Were you surprised by any of the guys left off the roster?
MB: I could’ve named 30 guys to make our team. The guys that were left off, especially with Marty St. Louis, the way he plays the game with his quickness, for me, I thought he was going to be on the team, but it’s hard to say the guys that took his spot didn’t deserve it. We built a hockey team. Canada did a great job: some veterans, some middle (experience) guys, some younger guys, and I think that’s a good makeup for a hockey team. I think the excitement of some of the first-time Olympians will really give us a big boost.

Who's the starting goaltender?
MB: We’ll see in February. All three of us will have to go through the regular season through the playoffs. I think the decision will come down to how we’re feeling, how we’re playing, what kind of system we’re going to be playing when it comes and who fits the best. Like a forward, like a defenseman, I think goalies are in a similar package there. We’ll play hard and hopefully I’ll be the starter, but I’m sure I’ll be pushed by these two guys. I’m sure it’s a great opportunity for everybody to put themselves in a great situation.

What did Team Canada learn in Turin (in 2006)?

MB: Not get overconfident. We had success in ‘02, we dominated in ‘04 in the World Cup. Throughout the World Championship we did really well. We came into ‘06 and we were kind of in cruising mode until we needed to win. We didn’t score and we were out of the tournament. It was a good lesson for everybody not that there’s many guys (back) from that team, but there’s some of them. It’s just playing well every game and building up to that game. It’s not a switch, we say that in the regular season when you get to the playoffs. But us, we’re just going to be 23 guys thrown there: ‘You guys gotta win.’ We have to get better and better as the tournament’s going to go (on).

What did you think of Scott Niedermayer being named captain?

MB: For me it was an obvious choice. He’s a great leader. He was our captain here, he’s been the captain with the Ducks. He’s got a lot of experience, and has won championships probably more than anybody that’s in (Team Canada’s) locker room. There’s a lot of good leaders, but I think everybody is comfortable looking at him and saying, ‘That’s our leader.’ 
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