New Jersey Devils
backup goalie Yann Danis
idolized Patrick Roy
as a youngster growing up in his native Lafontaine, Quebec.
But even as he watched with great interest the 11-time NHL All-Star set League records, he always knew there was another French-Canadian shot blocker born and raised 45 minutes away in Montreal who would one day rewrite the record books.
"If you followed the game, you kind of knew that Marty (Brodeur) would have a chance so long as he stayed healthy," Danis told NHL.com. "His numbers were already pretty high even when Patty (Roy) was setting those records so you always knew Marty would have a chance to do it."
Prior to establishing a new League record for career shutouts with 104 -- passing the legendary Terry Sawchuk
by one on Monday following a 4-0 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins
-- Brodeur had already bested Roy's former marks of more regular-season wins (580), games played (1,032) and more minutes (60,962) than any other goalie in League history.
"He's French-Canadian and being from (Lafontaine, Que.), you always liked to see one of your own succeed," Danis said. "I remember watching him win his first Stanley Cup (in 1995) and that was something special. What he's accomplished is pretty amazing, you can't deny that he's been one of the top goalies ever since entering the League. To be that consistent is pretty impressive."
For Danis, who signed a free-agent contract with the Devils in July to be Brodeur's backup, the opportunity to support the future Hall of Fame goalie has been an enlightening experience.
"When I was watching from the outside he always seemed a little unorthodox to me while I was a little more technical," Danis said. "But being here and watching him every day, I realize that he really works on those things that he does. It's not like he just does whatever he feels like on the ice -- it's actually something he practices and that was something I didn't really know."
The 28-year-old Danis is also amazed with how Brodeur carries himself with the media, win or lose.
"He's got so much pressure every day and it's amazing to me just how he remains calm -- he's the same guy on off days as he is game days," Danis said. "It's been fun to watch the way he handles everything."
Danis has played in four games this season and owns a 3-0-0 record with a 2.00 goals-against average and .929 save percentage. Brodeur has started the last 14 games and has played in the last 21 if you count the relief stint he had against the Dallas Stars
on Nov. 21.
"I feel at this level, every time you go out there there's always pressure so I try not to put extra pressure on myself," Danis said. "Whenever you're out there you have to prove yourself and prove you belong, but I feel that if I work hard at practice, and do what I'm capable of doing, I'll be fine."
Danis, who sits right beside Brodeur in the Devils' dressing room, admits it's been a good learning experience under the 16-season veteran. In particular, the way in which he controls the puck.
"I learn by watching him," Danis said. "Whenever he leaves the crease, he never seems rushed. He makes it seem like he has all the time in the world every time he comes out and, for the most part, he keeps it simple. Sometimes goalies tend to overplay the puck but I think he's good at it and he's not overdoing it and he makes smart plays.
Still, not everything Brodeur does is for public consumption.
"Some of the things he does, I don't know if I'll ever be able to do," Danis said. "But I can definitely learn a thing or two from him."
Danis, who is in his second NHL season, was glad to be a part of history when Brodeur notched his 104th career shutout to surpass the legendary Sawchuk.
"It was nice to be a part of the whole thing -- to be there and be part of history was really special," he said.
Contact Mike Morreale at firstname.lastname@example.org