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Devils wish Brodeur well as he attempts NHL return

by Mike G. Morreale

NEWARK, N.J. -- As the New Jersey Devils made preparations for their game against the Detroit Red Wings at Prudential Center on Friday, former teammate Martin Brodeur was taking the initial steps in a possible return to the NHL in his tryout with the St. Louis Blues.

Receiving an opportunity to join a Stanley Cup-contending team and having a shot at obtaining 700 career regular-season wins is something the 42-year-old goalie has been waiting for since becoming an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

Devils coach Peter DeBoer said he was glad Brodeur may be given a chance to return to the game, particularly in the Western Conference.

"I'm real excited for him," DeBoer said. "What a great opportunity. I think if you're hand picking a spot that would be right at the top of the list, it would have to be St. Louis. I'm glad it's in the other conference, but I'm happy for him."

Brodeur, the NHL's all-time leader in regular-season wins (688-394-105-71), shutouts (124) and games played (1,259), had been working out on his own while waiting for the right opportunity to join another team.

The Devils opted not to re-sign Brodeur after giving Cory Schneider a seven-year contract extension worth a reported $42 million in July.

"He has the desire to play, which is great, and has the ability, so it's good he's getting this opportunity and he must be excited," Schneider said. "I'm sure it's been a long few months for him, but it sounds like he was patient and wanted to take his time and pick his place that would work for him. Hopefully this is his place. I've always said that guys like Marty don't come along very often, so however long you can watch him play and have him a part of the League is great."

Blues starting goaltender Brian Elliott sustained a lower-body injury against the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday and is considered week-to-week, leaving coach Ken Hitchcock with just one goalie with NHL experience in rookie Jake Allen. The team did recall Jordan Binnington from the Chicago Wolves in the American Hockey League under emergency conditions but the 21-year-old has no NHL experience.

Enter Brodeur, who was advised Wednesday by his agent Pat Brisson that the Blues had expressed interest in bringing him aboard on a tryout basis beginning Friday. The Blues are scheduled to play the Edmonton Oilers at home on Friday before traveling to play the Minnesota Wild on Saturday.

Brodeur told that he wasn't sure if he would be traveling to Minnesota with the team. He said a decision on whether he will be signed will likely occur Tuesday before the team plays the second game of a four-game road trip against the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday.

The Devils and the Blues are not scheduled to play again this season unless they face off in the Stanley Cup Final.

"I don't know if [no more games against the Devils] was part of it for Marty, but they are a very good team," Schneider said with a grin. "I think he'll fit in very well there and hopefully it'll add something for them."

Brodeur and Blues coach Ken Hitchcock worked together with Canada at three Winter Olympics (2002, 2006, 2010) and for the 2004 World Cup of Hockey.

Devils defenseman Andy Greene was glad to see Brodeur given another opportunity.

"I'm excited for him," Greene said. "He said he was going to be patient and wait to see what happens, and it's good to see him getting the chance there. He deserves it and I wish him all the best."

Greene was quick to credit Schneider for carrying the load for much of this season in New Jersey. Schneider is expected to make his 22nd start against the Red Wings on Friday.

"We're very happy with the way Cory has played for us," Greene said. "He's played exceptionally well and given us a chance to win every night. Some nights we haven't been there for him and some nights he's kept us in the game."

Devils forward Adam Henrique said Brodeur always had the desire to keep playing and close out his career on a positive note.

"To get practicing with a team and try to get back into the swing of things is great for him," Henrique said. "Who knows what will happen moving forward. Obviously [St. Louis] has an injury to one of their key goalies. It'll be good to see him back on the ice.

"The kid in him still wants to play and have fun, so hopefully it'll work out for him, and if not there hopefully somewhere else."


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