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Devils unveil statue of Brodeur

by Mike G. Morreale / New Jersey Devils

NEWARK, N.J. -- The familiar postgame salute from New Jersey Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur to the fans as a sign of appreciation will forever be remembered in the form of an 11-foot tall bronze statue outside Prudential Center.

The Devils unveiled 'The Salute' as a tribute to one of the greatest goaltenders to ever play the game in front of approximately 4,000 fans on the main rink inside Prudential Center during a viewing party on Monday.

"It's a big statue and it has some presence, that's for sure," Brodeur said. "It's amazing all the detail of the equipment, that's especially nice."

The tribute is part of a four-day celebration to honor Brodeur that will culminate with his jersey No. 30 retirement ceremony on Tuesday against the Edmonton Oilers (8 p.m. ET; MSG, SNOL, TVA Sports, NHL.TV).

It just felt right because that's the pose people recognize the most when thinking of me.Martin Brodeur

Joining Brodeur during the statue unveiling were four of his five children. The fifth, William Brodeur, was unable to make the ceremony because of the snowstorm that hit the New England area. William attends Providence College in Rhode Island.

"It was great to have my family here; they're a big part of me and at the end of the day I always wanted to perform and play well because you know your kids are watching," Brodeur said. "For them to be here at the unveiling of the statue was great. I'm missing one (William Brodeur) but he understands."

The statue, created by New Jersey native and professional abstract sculptor Jon Krawczyk, weighs just under 1,000 pounds was completed in five months. The statue is cast in bronze and complete with his helmet, stick, pads, glove, blocker and skates.

The pose features Brodeur raising his goalie stick with his right hand, while winking to his children in the stands.

"I just felt that after looking at the pictures of my career and some of the events that meant a lot to me, I always saluted the fans, even at different times in my career and while in different jerseys," Brodeur said. "It all came down to the same pose. We added the wink because that's the thing I always did all the time to my kids when they were in the corner of the rink every home game.

"It just felt right because that's the pose people recognize the most when thinking of me."

Brodeur led the NHL in wins nine times and finished in the top five on five other occasions. The seven-time All-Star and four-time Vezina Trophy winner holds NHL goaltending records for wins (691), shutouts (125), games played (1,266) and minutes played (74,439). He also won 40 or more games eight times in his career. In the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Brodeur ranks first in shutouts (24) and second in wins (113).

Brodeur was asked if he considers himself a sports icon.

"I think I am in New Jersey," Brodeur said. "I think to the Devils' fans. When the fans chant my name it's always great. But I know the statue is for me but it's the recognition of all the success I had with my teammates the last 21 years or so. The fans grew up with me doing the same thing, cheering us on and wanting to win the Stanley Cup. We all did it together."

Krawczyk left his studio in Malibu, Calif., on Monday and arrived at his former residence in Boonton, N.J., on Thursday before transporting the statue to Prudential Center the following day. Krawczyk is also the builder of the three-story stainless steel skater called "The Iron Man" that has stood outside Prudential Center since 2009.

"This whole weekend has been a bit overwhelming," Brodeur said. "I'm excited about [Tuesday]. I know it means a lot to the fans and to the organization. It's closure for my hockey career, an exciting time but an emotional time as well."

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