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Devils to retire Brodeur's number before Feb. 9 game

by Mike G. Morreale

NEWARK, N.J. -- Martin Brodeur, who led the New Jersey Devils to three Stanley Cup championships while setting a host of NHL goaltending records, including most career wins and shutouts, will have his No. 30 retired by the Devils prior to their game Feb. 9 against the Edmonton Oilers. A statue of Brodeur will also be built outside Prudential Center.

Devils co-owner Joshua Harris made the announcement Tuesday at a press conference at Prudential Center.

Brodeur came a long way to get to this point after being selected by the Devils with the 20th pick in the 1990 NHL Draft.

"I didn't know where New Jersey was, but my agent was happy and said that means American dollars, so that's good," Brodeur said. "I had no clue what exactly I was getting into and my father (Denis Brodeur) told me that I was a number in an organization and that it was up to me to become No. 1 (on the depth chart), and eventually I did."

NBC Sports host Kathryn Tappen conducted a 1-on-1 interview with Brodeur after the announcement on a stage on the ice that faced the penalty boxes. All three Stanley Cup championship banners won by the Devils were lowered, and a video that included remarks from his former teammates was played before the interview.

"I don't think you can honor a hockey player better than retiring his jersey and, even better, is the statue," Brodeur said. "I'll have to talk to the sculptor (Jon Krawczyk) and make sure he gets my good side."

When first introduced, fans began chanting, "Marty, Marty!" Brodeur smiled and said, "Boy, I haven't heard that in a while."

Brodeur, 43, will be the fourth Devils player to have his number retired. He'll join defensemen Scott Stevens (No. 4 retired on Feb. 3, 2006), Ken Daneyko (No. 3, March 24, 2006) and Scott Niedermayer (No. 27, Dec. 16, 2011), fellow three-time Cup champions in New Jersey.

"When they approached me about this and I started thinking about it, I said this is our team," Brodeur said. "The guys with retired numbers made up those great defensive teams. Now we'll have three defensemen and a goalie. There are times when jerseys are retired in organizations where you have never met that retired player and they weren't a part of your career."

Brodeur played 21 seasons with the Devils but did not re-sign with them prior to 2014-15 when they committed to Cory Schneider as their No. 1 goalie. He finished his career playing seven games last season for the St. Louis Blues and is an assistant general manager for St. Louis.

Brodeur was asked what he thinks his father would have said knowing his son was going to have his jersey retired. Denis Brodeur died Sept. 26, 2013, at the age of 82.

"Growing up in Montreal, I got to see many retired jerseys in the rafters when I went to games with my dad, so I know what it means to have your jersey retired," Brodeur said. "For him to see this happen to his son, I'm sure he would be very excited. He's got the best seat in the house for it."

The process of arranging a day to celebrate Brodeur's 21 seasons with the Devils has been in the works for quite some time. Lou Lamoriello, who was Devils GM before accepting the same position with the Toronto Maple Leafs on July 23, made public before his departure from the Devils that Brodeur would eventually get his due at the appropriate time.

Lamoriello was the architect of the three Stanley Cup championships with Brodeur during his 28-year tenure as president/GM in New Jersey.

Brodeur was asked if having Lamoriello present during his jersey retirement ceremony would be something special.

"It would mean a lot to have him here, but I understand if he can't make it," Brodeur said. "I'm not a type of guy who will hold a grudge if someone isn't coming. But he's the reason why I probably stayed for so long in New Jersey. The way he brought me up in the organization and believed in me. The way he allowed me to kind of do my own contracts and how we worked together on them."

Ray Shero, who was present for the announcement Tuesday, replaced Lamoriello as Devils GM on May 4.

Brodeur led the NHL in wins nine times and finished in the top five on five other occasions. The 10-time all-star and four-time Vezina Trophy winner holds NHL career goaltending records for wins (691), shutouts (125), games played (1,266) and minutes played (74,439). He also won 40 or more games eight times in his career. In the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Brodeur ranks first in starts (204) and shutouts (24) and second in wins (113).

"Every Stanley Cup has its own story, so those are all memorable," Brodeur said. "I was fortunate to play on great teams, well-managed teams, and knew we had a chance every year. To beat the record for most career wins in this building was probably the biggest highlight I went through here in New Jersey."

Brodeur set the NHL wins record, his 552nd at the time, in a 30-save, 3-2 victory against the Chicago Blackhawks before 17,625 fans at Prudential Center on March 17, 2009.

The Blues signed Brodeur to a one-year contract in December 2014 after starter Brian Elliott sustained a knee injury. Brodeur announced his retirement as a player and joined the Blues front office as a senior adviser in January 2015. He finished his 22-season career 691-397-49 with 105 ties, a 2.24 goals-against average and a .912 save percentage.

"Growing up in Montreal, Patrick Roy was the type of goalie who paved the way and was so successful early in his career," Brodeur said. "I thought if he could do it, so could I. I got to know him later on, so it was nice to look up to someone and then get to know them too."

Tappen asked Brodeur if he felt he had a better career than Roy.

"The stats don't lie, I guess," he said with a grin.

On cue, the fans in attendance began chanting and clapping one final time: "Marty, Marty!"


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