Brodeur discussed his unique approach to goaltending as well as his preparation for game days.
You asked and Martin Brodeur
A week ago, as part of the first Devils Q&A of the offseason, the call went out for fans to send their questions for the four-time Vezina Trophy winner. Nearly 500 e-mails were received from here in New Jersey and from all around the world.
Submissions touched on Brodeur's training regimen, his favorite career moments and his mask design. He also was asked to share his thoughts on the possibility of upcoming changes to goaltender's equipment. Here were his responses:
What do you like best about living in New Jersey?
Megan, Dennis and Becky
A lot of things. As far as being a hockey player in New Jersey, I like the commuting and being able to drive to games within the division. Manhattan, Long Island, Philly – everything's close. But for me, New Jersey/New York is the center of everything. I like the pace of life and that people do their own thing. When you're a professional athlete, sometimes that's hard in other cities, but we have our peace and quiet here in New Jersey.When you were growing up, which goalie(s) did you idolize?
Coming from Montreal, Patrick Roy was the guy that everybody looked up to. He was consistent and successful early in his career; he won the Stanley Cup when he was really young and he played with a great organization. For me it was also a French thing, like one of us had made it that big in the NHL, and you tried to follow in his footsteps.
What one thing has been the most instrumental to your success?
My goalie coach. The support that I got through Jacques Caron really expanded into the confidence that the team gave me and the fact that Lou [Lamoriello] believed in me. I think it really started with Jacques.
Which moment in your career has made you most proud?
Winning the first Stanley Cup was certainly one thing. I think the second Cup was where I was really proud because the team had a lot of young guys like John Madden and Colin White, and we as veterans had to show them how to win. When we finally did it, it felt pretty nice to see other people enjoy what you had enjoyed a few years before, like I had in '95. So I would say the 2000 Cup was something pretty special.
What is your typical diet around game day? What foods are your guilty pleasures?
I try to eat a lot of carbs, especially the day of the game, because it fills you up. I have my breakfast and I have a huge lunch before I play. For me it's always having pasta and chicken to get some protein in me, so I don't play on an empty stomach at night. The day before a game it's high protein, mostly, with fish or steak, but nothing crazy. My guilty pleasure? Pizza. After all, we're in Jersey.
I have always wanted to know how you came up with the design on your goalie mask. Did you design it or did you have someone else do it for you?
Coon Rapids, Minn.
My brother and I sat down and did the whole design. I didn't know if I was going to make the Devils at the time, so I didn't add the 'N.' I added the tail and the devil horns to make the 'J' because I thought I was going to be back in the minors. Later, I just stayed with it. People associate you with the mask a lot. When I got to the [2002 Salt Lake City] Olympics, I went out on the ice and had the Team Canada helmet on. My sons were like, 'What's going on with Daddy?' They almost didn't recognize me. People really associate that mask with me.There has been lots of talk recently regarding the size of goalkeeping pads in the NHL, and whether the dimensions should be reduced. I would like to hear your own personal view on this issue and whether you would you support or oppose any changes.
Rhos-On-Sea, United Kingdom
I don't think it should be reduced at all. I think the size of the equipment is fine. The proportion of the equipment size to the goalie is where I think it's wrong, and that's what the NHL will try to change. If you're a certain size you should wear a certain equipment size. That doesn't mean it's going to be smaller as far as width or height, only that the equipment will fit your body.
Right now, there's just one standard for every goalie and so you have some smaller goalies taking advantage because their equipment is allowed to be bigger. Get the goalies to get dressed in proportion to the size of their bodies. Smaller equipment could be dangerous depending on where they choose to narrow it, that's why the league is taking its time – you can't just make a decision like that with the potential for injury to one of the most important players on your team.What kind of offseason training do you do as a goalie that might be different from the training done by forwards or defensemen?
Rockville Centre, N.Y.
A lot of agility drills for quickness and hand-eye coordination that maybe forwards don't do as much. Stretching is a big thing, not that you stretch a lot, but I think you have to do a little bit every day to make sure you stay limber. Goalies get into these awkward positions sometimes, so you need to make sure your body can respond to it.How do you feel your style of play has adjusted to the game over your career?
I think I've changed a little bit through the years. I've tried to incorporate new ways of playing the game. That's why you hear people call me a 'hybrid goalie' and say I adjust to the situation, never doing the same thing over and over like a butterfly goalie. I try to see what works and hopefully with my talent I'm able to play it and make it happen. I have my beliefs [on what works], and not too many goalies approach it the way I do. When you look at goalies and the ones that want to change things up, they do things similar to what I do.Your determination, drive to succeed and your dedication to your team is truly an inspiration. How do you do it?
It's a love of the game. Being a part of the team, the state and the fan base... I take a lot of pride in it. My organization always supported me and I enjoy what I do. It's normal for me to go out and work as hard as I can. But as a goalie, my dad always told me, 'You need the people around you if you want to be successful.' And there's no doubt, you can't do anything by yourself. I also keep that in the back of my mind to make sure I'm as good as I can be and prepared as possible.Commentators have made much of your ability to remain "cool as a cucumber" before and during games. I've always wondered what runs through your mind before games or after you give up a goal.
Jersey City, N.J.
I had to work a lot at it. For me, it's about believing in what you're able to do. When I get scored on or something doesn't go my way, I think of what I'm able to do and I'm reminded that I'm capable of doing it. I'm honest about myself – I know I'm not going to stop everything, so I don't try for perfection. I'm going to try to get there, but I know I'll never be perfect. I think that helps me to deal with everything.
Sometimes when perfection is the only thing you want to achieve, you miss the boat on other things. When I play, it's a game. I know that if I give up a goal it can affect my team, but by the end of the day I might make a save or a pass, or say something to my teammate, that can change everything. I play the whole game, I don't play the moment.If you were stranded on a deserted island, what three items would you love to have with you? And don't say all three Stanley Cups!
West Milford, N.J.
My golf clubs, for sure. One Stanley Cup and my gold medal [with Team Canada in the 2002 Winter Olympics]. That's if I couldn't choose to have my family with me.If you could play on a team with any player in hockey history, who would it be and why?
I would love to have played with Maurice Richard. I've seen a lot of stuff about him in Montreal and I saw the movie about him. To see the era that he played in and how he broke through with the Canadiens; how successful he was and how hated he was by other teams. His whole career was so interesting, and I would've loved to have been a part of that.
What can we Devils fans do at home games to give the team more of an edge?
Our fans are great, it's all about supporting us and being there for the team. I have no complaints as far as our fan base. Wear your Devils colors. That's probably the best thing we can see as players, when people wear our jerseys.
There is no question you've had an influence on many goalies, I was wondering what you think your legacy will be when you retire?
I think it's overwhelming to hear stuff like that from people. I looked up to different goalies when I was younger, and now I'm in a position where, because of what I've done, people look up to me. But when you play hockey, you play to be the best you can be and to have fun doing it. Along the way, I think I'm trying to be a role model, not just for kids, but for other athletes that want to do what I do because hockey's a great sport.