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Brodeur excited for Olympics, Lemaire, milestones

by Dan Rosen
WAYNE, N.J. -- Martin Brodeur came back from his first serious injury last season in time to get on a roll and break Patrick Roy's all-time NHL record for wins. So at least he doesn't have to talk about that this summer.
This doesn't mean the New Jersey Devils' future Hall of Fame goalie doesn't have a lot on his mind or a lot on his plate as he prepares for his 16th NHL season.
There is, of course, the new-look Devils, who went back in time to bring back Jacques Lemaire as coach. Brodeur has a few more milestones he's chasing, including the all-time records for shutouts, games played and minutes played.
Oh, and there is that little tournament out in Vancouver in February to discuss.
Brodeur kindly took time out of his busy schedule Thursday morning during a break at his goalie camp at the Ice Vault Arena here to field some questions from Nothing was out of bounds -- Brodeur touched on everything from the upcoming season to his milestones, Lemaire, the Olympics and the Game 7 loss to Carolina that ended the Devils' season in the first round of the playoffs: Entering last season, everyone knew it was going to be a big year for you -- maybe the biggest -- because of the records you could set. Could this year possibly be bigger because not only do you still have milestones to set, it just happens to be an Olympic year as well?
Brodeur: Not really, no. I just go out every single season and approach it the same way. I try to do well and go all the way. I concentrate more on my season with the Devils than what I have to go through with Team Canada. It's such a short time with Team Canada and you do want to get yourself to be as good as you can when the Olympics come, but for me to approach it that way I think would have people asking, 'Why are you not doing that all the time for the Devils?' For me, there is no bearing if it's an Olympic year or not. It is what it is. I do think it's an opportunity for me to hopefully create something great, and that's what I'm trying to be all about. Regardless if I make it or not, it's going to be my last shot. Four years from now, I'm probably not going unless something crazy happens. It's going to be an exciting year. What are you thinking about now that the orientation camp in Calgary is just a few days away (it starts on Monday night), and that really signals the start of your season and the start of the competition to make Canada's roster?
Brodeur: In previous years I would go to that orientation camp and I knew I had 30 buddies of mine and we were going to have fun. Now it's like, I don't know these kids. You put them in the lineup and I have no clue who they are. I mean, I know their names and I know they're good players, but I've never met them. I have been away for four years of Team Canada stuff. I haven't been around it at all. I haven't been to a World Championships or anywhere, so I don't have an idea, but that's an exciting thing to meet them -- the new players, the young guns -- and check them out. For the last two Olympics, pundits pretty much picked you as the lock to be Canada's starting goalie months out. That may not be the case this time around, especially with Roberto Luongo in his prime and Marc-Andre Fleury coming off a Stanley Cup. Does that fuel you at all -- to be the No. 1 goalie knowing that there might be more competition this year than in year's past?
Brodeur: I don't think so. I think it's always similar. I'm dealing with the top goalies in Canada, so regardless if you think I'm going to be the No. 1, I still have to go out and prove it. This year is going to be a great challenge, not just for me but the other guys, too. Competition in that way will be healthy, and you know what? You never know. It happens quick. Games are won and lost pretty quickly in the Olympics and you need guys that want to be there to be there 100-percent mentally. I'm looking forward to that challenge. I think it keeps you accountable when you have people there to take your job. On Oct. 3, barring anything unforeseen, you're going to play in your 1,000th NHL regular-season game. You'll also be going for shutout No. 102, and you only need three more to own that record. There also is the minutes played record and the games played record you could attain this season. Last summer you talked about how the wins record was a team thing, but is there a more personal feel to these milestones, especially playing in that 1,000th game?
Brodeur: Yes, because not many goalies -- well exactly one (Patrick Roy) -- have played in 1,000 games. I think it says a lot about a goalie to be that durable to play so many games, and on a good team. I take a lot of pride in it. Every year people are like, 'Why are you playing in so many games?' It's a pride thing that fuels me. There are not many goalies that are able to do it and I think I'm able to do it better than anybody. It drives me, so hitting that milestone proves to me that I was able to do it.

"In previous years I would go to that orientation camp and I knew I had 30 buddies of mine and we were going to have fun. Now it's like, I don't know these kids. You put them in the lineup and I have no clue who they are. I mean, I know their names and I know they're good players, but I've never met them. That's an exciting thing to meet them -- the new players, the young guns -- and check them out."
-- Martin Brodeur Critics always have wondered if you were playing too much, and I'm sure you spent a lot of downtime in those summers after you played in 70-plus games. You didn't play in that many games last season and only one round in the playoffs, so has your summer been any different this year? Do you feel any fresher as a result of the lighter load last season?
Brodeur: No, not really. I have been working out as hard as I did last year and doing all the right things. Getting older, I know it changes a lot of my habits to be able to follow the game. It's a tougher game with younger players. You know, people that never played the game, I don't understand why they want to talk about me being tired so much. People have a way of thinking about it, but I know what I can do and what I can bring to a team. We have been in the playoffs so many years in a row and at the end of the day, when we start the season, that's your No. 1 goal and from there you move on. I don't know how many years I'll be able to do it, but there is no reason for me not to be fresh. It was important last season for you to not only come back for your team, but to get the wins record so it wasn't hanging over your head for another summer. Do you find that to be a big thing now? At least you don't have to talk about that this summer, right?
Brodeur: It is because even though it's a personal thing, it's a team thing, but all the attention is brought to me and sometimes I don't like the attention. I have gotten it all my career, but I love the game so much and I try to walk under the radar as much as I can. People have expectations on me all the time and I know my personality doesn't help, so that's kind of the way it works, but this year will be a lot calmer. I'll be able to play. We have the new coach and I'm really comfortable having Jacques Lemaire in the mix, for sure. It'll be a good challenge for our team. We lost some key players and we'll see some young guys. It'll be fun for us. Good lead-in to Lemaire. You knew Jacques as a coach in the 1990s. What do you expect of him as a coach now in 2009? Do you expect the same guy even with the game being different now?
Brodeur: "You know what? I think our players will be pleasantly surprised, especially if some guys do have an opinion, and I haven't talked to too many guys. Jacques is all about details, about playing the game the right way. The game has opened up and a lot of things have changed, but all Jacques is asking is what every smart coach is asking -- just be smart without the puck. When you don't have the puck, make sure you don't make mistakes. That's what he is going to bring to the table. Some of the young players that we have, if their ice time was 19 minutes, just because he'll be teaching players to play without the puck, it could climb up and the production of certain players will probably rise up, too. We had some offensive teams with Jacques. I know people just say 'trap, trap, trap,' but in 1994 and 1995 we were scoring goals." A year ago at this time we talked about the Olympics and you were saying that it's in the back of your mind, that you want to be there but it's still so far away. It's not so far away anymore, so is anything brewing in you to think about it more even though you have the NHL season coming up?
Brodeur: Well, I just feel really good about my game. I feel really good with where I am physically and mentally to be up for the challenge. Two or three years ago it was too far away. In the last three years I have won two Vezina trophies, so my seasons were pretty good. Last year I had five shutouts in 30 games and 19 wins. I was rolling pretty good. I was doing my share, like I'm used to. So, I feel like I'm still on top of things, and when the Olympics come around I will be up for the challenge. Do you have anything to prove after the way the Carolina series ended?
Brodeur: You know what? I play with the New Jersey Devils. Marty Brodeur is part of the team, and we lost that one game. It was a tough break at the end, but it's not as tough as losing a Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final in Colorado or that Ranger game (Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals) in '94. We lost. Hey, there is only one winner and we tried to win. It's normal that people want to read things about it and know what is going on, but hopefully we'll get another chance at it. I might not have another chance at redeeming, but I have to go out and play well and whatever happens, happens.
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