-- Denis Brodeur Jr. will be thinking of only one thing if his younger brother is holding a lead in the final moments of the third period against the Chicago Blackhawks
"Mission accomplished," the 38-year-old sibling of Devils goalie Martin Brodeur
To have an opportunity to witness history is something Marty's older brother wouldn't miss for the world. The only proof you need of that is the fact Denis arrived in New Jersey at 5:30 a.m. Tuesday morning following a six-hour drive from Montreal. His good friend Guy Martin rode shotgun. Brodeur's father, Denis Sr., also arrived via automobile with Marty's older brother, Claude, and Claude's son at around 7 a.m.
"I'll be taking pictures from Section 105, where I think I'll be sitting with Guy and Marty's four children," Denis Jr. said. "Hopefully the team will be winning in the final five minutes of the game, because that's when I want to start snapping photos of him. This trip has never been a problem; we probably make it between 10-15 times in a season. We're definitely used to it."
There's no question the Brodeur family has become accustomed to watching Martin celebrate victories. Denis Jr. witnessed his brother celebrate his 551st career victory Saturday in Montreal to equal Patrick Roy
's NHL record. Brodeur accomplished the feat in 986 games over 15 seasons, all with New Jersey; Roy set the standard in 1,029 appearances with Montreal and Colorado from 1984-2003.
"It's hard to believe, really," Denis Brodeur Jr. said. "Looking at it, he played a lot of games and has showed a lot of commitment. I was there for his first game against Boston and a lot of games in between and now I'm here tonight … 16 years later. Man, we're getting old, but the thing is, he's still so young to be breaking this record. And whenever it does happen, I sure hope he'll put some more wins on that thing."
"You have to play a lot of games to be able to win that many games, that's the bottom line,'' Martin Brodeur
said during a Tuesday morning press conference at the Prudential Center.
Brodeur first career victory came March 26, 1992, against Boston's Andy Moog
at Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford -- a 4-2 triumph.
Since then, he's gone through his share of hot and cold streaks, but through it all, he's remained one of the most consistent goalkeepers ever to strap on the pads.
"I've been really hot at times and cold, too," Marty Brodeur said. "In a season, it's not just a question of winning or losing but how you feel when you play the game. When you play with a good team, you're able to not play well and still win sometimes and that makes a difference with some of the streaks you're putting together. I'm just fortunate that I've been playing with some great teams and I try to minimize (the cold streaks), but it could happen at any time and that's why you have to be honest with your game and how you prepare yourself."
The Brodeur brothers are as competitive as they come.
"It's funny because when I do things, I want to do it good and Marty is the same way," Denis Jr. said. "The bottom line is he hates to lose and he'll do anything to win. When we played street hockey and were against each other, we both had the same temper and both would do anything to win. There were big fights between brothers, too, but the next thing you know, we're out there playing again. That's the fight you see in Marty every game."
Brodeur is glad his family will be front and center to witness history possibly being made in New Jersey.
The family went out together for a pre-game lunch in downtown Newark to relieve some of the stress in anticipation of the big night.
"After two hours of sleep, I'm ready for a salad and some pasta," said Denis Brodeur Jr.
"What we had to go through on Saturday (in tying the record against Montreal) was amazing," said Marty Brodeur, "and I know (my father) is looking forward to Tuesday's game."
"He's not nervous but anxious, wondering how things will unfold. Like in Montreal, he was kind of anxious, and it's a weird feeling because he doesn't really know what will happen. He's been in four Stanley Cup Finals and has played in the Olympics, so it's not nerves, believe me." -- Denis Brodeur Jr.
Denis feels his brother won't be nervous when the game starts.
"He's not nervous but anxious, wondering how things will unfold," Denis said. "Like in Montreal, he was kind of anxious, and it's a weird feeling because he doesn't really know what will happen. He's been in four Stanley Cup Finals and has played in the Olympics, so it's not nerves, believe me."
Not surprisingly, Denis Jr. was right on with his assessment, as Martin actually answered that very question just as his brother predicted.
"I'm anxious about the game and can't wait to get on that plane to go to Carolina," said Brodeur. The Devils will leave after the game for Carolina, where the Devils will play the Hurricanes on Wednesday.
Brodeur is 7-2-0 with four ties and a 1.88 goals-against average in 14 games against the Blackhawks.
Contact Mike Morreale at email@example.com.