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Brodeur could sign Tuesday with Blues, play on trip

by Louie Korac

HAZELWOOD, Mo. -- Martin Brodeur took part in his first full-scale practice with the St. Louis Blues on Monday at their training facility at St. Louis Outlet Mall's Ice Zone.

Brodeur said he felt good after skating every day since Friday. He was on the ice Sunday by himself and if all goes well Tuesday, he could sign a contract in the afternoon and be in goal for one of the upcoming three games the Blues will play on the road.

"It felt different, more hockey-like," Brodeur said. "It went really well for me anyway. … I think I'm fine now. If they ask me, I think I would be OK to go out and play. For my first game, that's when I'll really know. Hopefully, we'll make a decision by [Tuesday].

"… I'm happy to get this opportunity and maybe stay on the team. I'm working hard, I'm enjoying it. For me, it's to gauge about how I feel coming back into the NHL. So far, so good. I'm happy about what's going on the last few days."

Martin Brodeur was brought in for a tryout with the Blues in hopes of signing a contract after goalie Brian Elliott sustained a lower-body injury. (Photo: St. Louis Blues Twitter)

Brodeur was brought in for a tryout with hopes of signing a contract after goalie Brian Elliott sustained a lower-body injury that will sideline him on a week-to-week basis. Jake Allen has been operating as the No. 1 goalie in Elliott's absence with Jordan Binnington, who has yet to play in an NHL game, as the backup.

Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said if Brodeur is signed, he will play on the upcoming road trip.

"That's very realistic," Hitchcock said. "If he's here, he's going to play. We'll figure out what game it is and games they are. But if he's here, he's going to play. He's not going to back up.

"… He looked just like a normal goalie to me. I don't know how much more we can go at him. I think it's now up to how he feels with what we do [Monday and Tuesday]. We'll put more heat on him tomorrow, but he looked fine today."

At present, the Blues are just excited having Brodeur around.

Imagine being Jaden Schwartz walking into the locker room, and the first glance is of a guy whose career started before Schwartz was born.

That's what Schwartz was faced with when he met Brodeur, the NHL's all-time winningest goalie, for the first time.

"I never met him before, but it's pretty cool for a guy who's had such a great career to be able to come in here," Schwartz said of Brodeur, who played his first NHL game on March 26, 1992, or three months before Schwartz was born. "I've watched him growing up a lot. Obviously seen him play a lot of hockey."

Brodeur, with his 688 wins, three Stanley Cups and 124 shutouts, played four games in the 1991-92 season. Schwartz wasn't born until June 25, 1992.

"His accolades that he's collected, championships and stuff like that … for me as a young guy, it's probably a little cooler," Schwartz said.

Brodeur, who arrived in St. Louis on Thanksgiving morning, spent his first day with the team getting to know players and those in the organization, signing memorabilia, getting his first workout on the ice and being the consummate player.

"Just off professionalism and his love for the game, he's picking up pucks at the end of practice," Hitchcock said. "That's a Hall of Famer doing that type of stuff. I think that rubs off on a really good way with a lot of players."

Indeed it does.

"It's pretty special," captain David Backes said. "It's not every day you get a Hall of Famer come to the rink and try and stop pucks. It's almost a little unnerving. You don't want to hit him in the head and make the old man mad. I think [Barret Jackman] is the happiest guy here knowing he's not the oldest guy anymore. It's great to have him out there. He battles his butt off. He knows where you're shooting it before you're shooting it.

"The sad thing about my knowledge of Marty is he's been in the East and I've been in the West and we barely played each other. I think the most I saw of him was [the Vancouver] Olympics in 2010. His goaltending abilities, his record speaks for itself, and I think his competitive nature is second to none. A guy that can move the puck with the best of them too. I don't know how much he's got left. He obviously thinks he can still play. I'm nobody to tell him he can't."

Brodeur becomes the oldest player in the locker room at 42.

"Marty's got me by a couple years," Jackman, 34, said. "[Steve Ott's] first comment was, 'You're not the oldest guy anymore.' His experience speaks volumes for how good of a teammate and how good of a player he is. It's going to be fun to pick his brain on some things. It's fun to have him around.

"He's one of the best goaltenders to ever play the game. Hopefully things work out for him and he's here for a while. It's fun for the guys in the dressing room right now."

Defenseman Alex Pietrangelo agreed.

"He certainly has a good track record," Pietrangelo said. "To have 688 wins, that's pretty impressive. He's one of the best all-time. To see him sitting in our room is pretty special.

"He's obviously a guy I grew up watching. It's pretty cool to see him sitting in your dressing room. A little different being in a Blues uniform, but we're obviously excited to have him. We know the experience that he brings. It's going to be great for Jake and [Binnington] both to have a guy like that here. … We know what he can do on the ice. Jake's been playing great, and we've got a lot of confidence in Jake. Having a guy like that sitting beside [Binnington] too, it'll be good for him to pick his brain a little bit."

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