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Blues hope Brodeur hasn't closed chapter in St. Louis

by Louie Korac /

ST. LOUIS -- While goalie Martin Brodeur takes a week to ponder his future, the St. Louis Blues hope the veteran comes back.

Brodeur, 42, was granted a leave of absence by the Blues on Wednesday and went back to his hometown of Saint-Leonard, Quebec to spend time with his family.

But the Blues, who host the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday, hope Brodeur, who has been relegated to being the No. 3 goalie, will remain with them moving forward.

"Yeah, selfishly, yeah," coach Ken Hitchcock said when asked about wanting Brodeur back.

"Kind of caught everybody off guard. We didn't know what was going on and still don't know what's going on. I've gotta tell you, him being here, man it was really helpful. It was helpful to every piece of this organization between trainers, coaches, players, management … he was a real helpful guy. He shared information that you just can't buy, you can't pay for. I'm hoping that whatever he decides with him and his family, that he comes back to us and we can help him a little bit maybe in something that he wants to do, but he can help us a bunch. Selfishly, we're hopeful that he does come back."

Brodeur, whose 691 wins are the most in NHL history, was 3-3-0 with a 2.87 goals-against average and .899 save percentage in seven games with the Blues. Brodeur was a healthy scratch the past five games after goalie Brian Elliott returned from a knee sprain. The Blues also have Jake Allen. Brodeur's last game was Jan. 2, when he made 29 saves in a 4-3 loss to the Anaheim Ducks.

The Blues signed Brodeur to a tryout after Elliott was injured Nov. 25 against the Ottawa Senators. Brodeur signed a one-year, incentive-laden contract Dec. 2.

Elliot returned Dec. 30 and has made five appearances (four starts), allowing 10 goals. He is 11-5-1 and ranked first in the NHL in GAA (1.95) and fourth in save percentage (.928) heading into Thursday.

Brodeur has a record 125 shutouts, and a lifetime 2.24 GAA and .912 save percentage.

The three-time Stanley Cup champion and four-time Vezina Trophy winner spent the first 21 seasons of his career with the New Jersey Devils. He became a free agent after the 2013-14 season.

"I don't want to close the book on that," St. Louis captain David Backes said of Brodeur's time with the Blues. "I think he's going to take a week here and do some searching and get some rest for him. But he's a very capable goalie, I think he's shown that, and a very capable guy in the room. Whatever sorts itself out, hopefully he's still with us and he can provide us with more insight, more veteran know-it-all and be a part of us winning games going forward. Who knows how it sorts out, but we wish him the best and some great soul searching in the next week or so.

"Yeah, he was great to have here. He is great to have here. … Three goalies, I don't know how you figure that all out; that's management and coaching, but he's a character guy in the room, a guy with experience, and he's phenomenal."

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