Brodeur and Luongo at the 2006 Winter Games in Torino.
Tonight's meeting between the Devils and Canucks has drawn plenty of attention for pitting Martin Brodeur against Roberto Luongo.
Both netminders were among the five chosen to attend Team Canada's orientation camp over the summer, and it's believed that either Brodeur or Luongo will be tapped as the No. 1 goalie for Team Canada when the 2010 Winter Games open at Vancouver in February.
Devils head coach Jacques Lemaire, who will serve as an assistant coach for Team Canada, said he spoke Tuesday to Team Canada general manager Steve Yzerman about tonight's contest.
Brodeur, Lemaire and Luongo each addressed the matchup, the spotlight, and the upcoming Olympics.
Brodeur on facing Luongo "There’s not much you can do about it. It’s my teammates that will try to get to him; I can’t get to him. His teammates will try to get to me. I’ve been through this with Dominik Hasek, some of the matchups we’ve had, Patrick Roy especially in the (2001) Finals. People talk a lot about that matchup, but at the end it’s about how you’re going to play. You never know the situation that’s going to come towards you. The matchup is for people to enjoy to see who’s going to win that game. But maybe somebody’s going to get 40 shots, and someone’s going to get 20 shots, power plays, bad bounces, who knows? You can’t get overwhelmed by that matchup all the time."
…on dealing with the hype of the Canucks matchup "On Thursday, by around two o’clock, I think everyone’s going to move on to the next games that are coming Thursday night. It goes for 24 hours. It’s a good challenge and that’s it."
Luongo on facing Brodeur "It’s just a regular game. I’m not really facing Marty; he’s not shooting on me. It’s the New Jersey Devils that will be shooting on me. Apart from just having him on the other side and him being one of my idols as a kid, that’s where the excitement comes from. I don’t think I’m really facing him directly. It’s just a matter of us being on the ice at the same time. I’m more concerned about (Zach) Parise and (Patrik) Elias than Marty, let’s put it that way."
…on his motivation to play well "The Olympics are obviously in Vancouver, and you see and hear about it every day, and it’s exciting. It’s something to look forward to, but when I step on the ice, I’m not thinking to myself, ‘Well I have to play well tonight to try and win that job.’ I step on the ice to try to help the Canucks win the game. That’s really my main motivation."
Devils head coach and Team Canada assistant Jacques Lemaire on the significance of tonight's Brodeur-Luongo showdown "I’m sure that the two goalies will want to prove something. But show more than prove. I think both of them have proved that they’re great goalies. But they want to show one will be better than the other one. The rest is what people will say and what they’ll hear before the game. If everyone talks to them about, ‘Hey, you got a competition between the two,’ then it gets bigger. But in reality, it’s not that big. It’s the team in front of you. I was saying that the better goalie will be their defensemen. Because if you do make mistakes, you get 2-on-1s, as an example, they get an open net, you can’t do anything about it. It doesn’t say it’s really the goalie. It’s more the defensemen, or the guys that backcheck, or the guy that goes in front of the net and the guy misses his shot, hits the guy on the side and goes in. What can the goalie do? You would have to look at the game closely and that type of look on a goalie, how he stands, if he’s in front of the shots, how he reacts on rebounds and things like that, more than the outcome of the game."
…on tonight's matchup being more about the teams than the goaltenders "It’s two great goalies. The game won’t only be played depending on how the goalies will be in the net. I think it’s two good teams, two fast teams. It’s two teams that play a very similar game: good offensively, good defensively. I think it will depend on how many mistakes one of the two teams will do defensively that will make a difference on the goalie."