Ottawa will have its own M. Brodeur in goalie pads Wednesday night at the Rock.
Goaltender Mike Brodeur was recalled from Ottawa's Binghamton affiliate on Tuesday, and will be on the bench when the Devils host the Senators. Ottawa starter Pascal Leclaire will miss the next four weeks with a fractured cheekbone.
Mike Brodeur admits to being a longtime fan of Martin Brodeur
, the NHL's all-time winningest goalie, but was unaware of any relation between them.
"If there is, it’s so deep in the tree, it’s not even worth saying," Mike Brodeur said. "It’s in the family tree somewhere, but we wouldn’t be at each other’s family reunion or anything. Never got to meet him or anything."
Brodeur, 26, was selected by Chicago in the seventh round of the 2003 Entry Draft, and has spent his career in the minors. He was signed by the Blackhawks in 2003, then re-signed in 2007. He then signed with the Rangers organization last year before attending their 2008 training camp.
Ottawa signed the Calgary native to a one-year deal in July before assiging him to the AHL. All along, he's had the biggest name in goaltending stitched to the back of his jersey.
"It’s a great name to have," he said. "It’s something to be proud of when a guy does something like that. You have to try and carry yourself with that name and try to produce. He’s got a big spotlight going there. When I was a kid I had the same equipment as Marty, same helmet, same pads, everything. I idolized him growing up. It was something fun to follow as you’re growing up."
It was a special thrill for a teenager to have his own initial and last name on his hockey gear.
"I even bought his stick. It said ‘M. Brodeur’ so it was like I had my own pattern back when I was 13, 14 years old," he said. "I’d even bug the other kids when they had the Brodeur stick. I was like, ‘What’re you doing with my stick?’"
It has made for some interesting exchanges with fans. Mike has yet to make an NHL appearance, while Martin is one of two goaltenders in history ever to top 1,000.
"Sometimes I’ll have fans tell me, ‘You’re my favorite goalie, Brodeur!’ It’s like, ‘It’s not Marty over here, guys.’”
With Binghamton, Brodeur has worn No. 29 – the same number that Martin came up wearing when he debuted with the Devils in 1991. Ottawa's No. 30 is currently taken by Brian Elliott, who was expected to start in New Jersey.
For now, this Brodeur is only focused on making the most of his NHL chance.
“You work that much harder and longer, and you know the tempo’s that much faster," he said. "It gets the heart going. It’s great, though. It’s a dream come true. I’ve been working my whole life to get here and it’s another step in the right direction."