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Brodeur encouraged by Devils' nucleus

by Eric Marin / New Jersey Devils
Brodeur will start Sunday against Tampa Bay.

As challenging as this season has been, Martin Brodeur sees it as a short-term setback.

He doesn’t expect the struggles to last beyond this year, which has been marked by adversity.

“When you have talent like Zach (Parise) and Travis (Zajac) and you have (Jacob) Josefson and you have (Mattias) Tedenby, you have some young guys, like (Andy) Greene’s coming along real well, and with Kovy (Ilya Kovalchuk) being here, you’re talking about a nucleus that can do a lot of good things,” Brodeur said.

Significant change came on Friday, when the Devils (10-28-2) announced that Jamie Langenbrunner had been traded to Dallas for a conditional draft pick. Langenbrunner, a member of the 2003 Stanley Cup championship, was in his ninth season with the Devils, and his fourth as captain.

It could be the first of several moves, though to Brodeur, that doesn’t automatically signal a rebuild. The 38-year-old still has his sights set on a fourth Cup, and believes the Devils have the talent on board to make that possible.

“Definitely there will be interchangeable parts to the organization, but I don’t feel that it’s going to be a makeover,” Brodeur said. “(Next year) is going to be the last year of my contract and who knows where I’m going to go, but I want a chance to win. I feel we’re going to have a great chance to win next year like I thought this year, too.”

Devils’ President/CEO/GM Lou Lamoriello felt strongly about even using the “R” word.

“First of all, I despise the word ‘rebuilding,’ because I don’t think that should be the case,” Lamoriello said during a conference call. “I think we’ve got to look at what the reasons are that we find ourselves in this position because in my opinion, it’s not talent. Maybe it’s the wrong talent, maybe it’s the wrong chemistry, and I have to take that responsibility. It has to start with me.”

Brodeur believes a fresh start could spark Langenbrunner to good things with the Stars, the team that drafted him in 1993. Dallas (24-13-4) entered Friday’s action with a five-point lead on San Jose for the lead in the Pacific Division.

“We have good hockey players on this team that are having tough years,” said Brodeur, who will start Sunday against Tampa Bay. “Sometimes just a move of scenery – and you’ll see it with Jamie – how well he’s going to perform in Dallas. You play as well as your team can play, and when you don’t play together, it’s hard individually to really have good seasons.”

Brodeur also applauded the deal on the Stars’ end.

"Dallas has made a great move and definitely, he will be surely missed for us," he said. "When you're in a situation like we are right now and we still have (42) games left. You create a hole like that, and we're going to have nothing coming back. We're just going to have to plug along and hope that the next (trade) is going to be a little later (in the season) so we can try to get back playing and having fun and win some games. I know making the playoffs becomes a tough thing to think about now, but winning once in a while would be fun, too.”

If more deals follow, don’t expect them to include Brodeur. Lamoriello got right to the point when asked Friday if he would consider dealing Brodeur.

“No,” Lamoriello replied. “Does that answer your question?"

Brodeur has said he has every hope of finishing his Hall of Fame career as a Devil.

“We’ve had a great relationship all throughout my career," Brodeur said, referring to Lamoriello. "At the end, it’s their decision. I’ve made it pretty clear that I don’t want to go anywhere and I want to stay in New Jersey.”

Johan Hedberg will start Saturday's 1 p.m. matinee in Philadelphia.
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