The New Jersey Devils
honored goaltender Martin Brodeur
before Friday night's game against Tampa Bay for setting the all-time NHL record for regular-season victories. Brodeur broke Patrick Roy
's record by earning his 552nd regular-season victory in a 3-2 victory over Chicago at the Prudential Center on March 17.
After a brief video highlighting the achievements of several of the NHL greats Brodeur passed on the way to the record, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman presented Brodeur with two special keepsakes. One was a "Realizing the Dream" plaque that the League presents to all players after their first NHL game. The typical plaque includes a game puck and the score sheet from that first game. In Brodeur's case, the plaque he received Friday night includes a game puck and scoresheet from Brodeur's first NHL game and a game puck and score sheet from victory No. 552.
Bettman also presented Brodeur with a Tiffany-crafted crystal depiction of an iconic Brodeur save, and announced that the NHL will dedicate a plaque in honor of the record at Arena-Martin Brodeur in St. Leonard, Quebec, outside of Montreal. Brodeur also received a sterling silver goaltender's stick, presented by a pair of tuxedoed attendants.
Then it was Brodeur's turn to speak.
With a chorus of "Marty, Marty" in the background, Brodeur thanked the head coaches and assistant coaches he's worked with -- "especially my goalie coach, Jacques Caron
" -- as well as the "166 teammates I've had in my career so far in New Jersey," the training staffs he's worked with, and "you, the fans."
The plan was for Brodeur's to take a rare night off. He started the game as the backup goaltender while Kevin Weekes
took the ice against the Lightning, who are 28th in the 30-team NHL. But Weekes left with an apparent lower body injury in the first minute of the second period, and Brodeur took off his baseball cap and put on his mask for his first relief appearance in 11 years. He wound up with his 554th career victory when the Devils beat Tampa Bay 5-4 in overtime.
Brodeur was expected to start the Devils' game in Buffalo on Saturday night.