The records are within his grasp now. After missing 50 games recovering from a torn biceps tendon, Martin Brodeur
remains within striking distance to break NHL records for most wins (record 551, Brodeur has 548) and possibly shutouts (record 103, Brodeur has 100).
Be warned, once he does, Brodeur doesn't plan on stopping.
Even though he could pen his Hall of Fame speech today with a hand weighed down by three Stanley Cup rings, Brodeur told NHL.com that he's still a dreamer and not because of any records or personal achievements.
"That confidence of winning, you have it in you, but when it's been a while you start wondering what do I need to do?" Brodeur said. "Finding that edge is what drives you. Finding that confidence in yourself and your team to be able to climb up and win that Stanley Cup is what it's all about."
To Brodeur, chasing Patrick Roy
's records for wins (551), appearances (1,029), minutes played (60,235) and Terry Sawchuk
's mark for career shutouts (103) means only one thing: If he takes ownership of the records, the Devils win.
"A lot of people ask, 'What drives you to play?" Brodeur said. "I hear it all the time. I'm telling you, after you play as a team and win as a team, that feeling to do it again is what drives you. At some point that flame won't be there any more and that's going to be the time when it's over. Right now I still have it. I care."
Talk about stating the obvious.
"Marty is outstanding," Buffalo goalie Ryan Miller
said. "I appreciate the way he competes and he finds a way to play the game every night. The amount of time he spends in the net during the season is amazing. He's been resilient. He's been at the highest level and he's doing it in a tough fashion, where he's playing 70-plus games every year and he just keeps coming back. I feel privileged playing against him."
Until this season, Brodeur's marvelous durability was taken for granted. Since the 1997-98 season, he had never appeared in fewer than 70 games in a season, until suffering the torn biceps tendon against Atlanta on Nov. 1.
Today, we focus on the goalie who still dreams big, even though he's won just about everything possible short of the Hart Trophy and the Conn Smythe Trophy.
"You don't play hockey for individual things," Brodeur said. "It's a team sport so when you do win together it's a fun feeling. That, for me, is what hockey is all about."
Brodeur said he's driven to win again so he can celebrate with the players that never have, like Zach Parise
, Travis Zajac
, David Clarkson
and Kevin Weekes
"It's a drive for a player to be able to give it to someone else," Brodeur said.
He nearly gave it to John Vanbiesbrouck
in 2001, but the Devils lost Games 6 and 7 to Colorado. Brodeur said it still haunts him that Vanbiesbrouck never won a Stanley Cup.
"That killed me the most," Brodeur said. "I could have won one for him."
Vanbiesbrouck was stunned to hear that Brodeur still thinks that way.
"I have heard him say it in the past, but after going on and winning the Cup two years later, I thought that irk probably would have left him by then," Vanbiesbrouck told NHL.com. "I appreciate him considering that. Marty is a very considerate person. They know him to be this illustrious goaltender, but he's a very caring person and a very good teammate. He's going to do something I thought I wouldn't see for a long, long time, but you have know the man to know why he's able to do these types of things. He competes at a different level."
"A lot of people ask, 'What drives you to play? I hear it all the time. I'm telling you, after you play as a team and win as a team, that feeling to do it again is what drives you. At some point that flame won't be there any more and that's going to be the time when it's over. Right now I still have it. I care." -- Martin Brodeur
He competes to win, but not for himself.
Brodeur doesn't only look at the Stanley Cup as the greatest prize in all of sports, but the greatest gift he could give his teammates.
"He's got a real goalie mentality, a pure goalie mentality," Vanbiesbrouck said. "A lot of people think goalies are selfish, but they're always playing for the team. I say that from a real biased standpoint, and Marty has always been a team-first guy.
"I truly believe he was wining it for all the other guys way back when, too."
Contact Dan Rosen at firstname.lastname@example.org