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Emrick: Devils without Brodeur will 'seem strange'

by Mike G. Morreale

NBC broadcaster Mike "Doc" Emrick admitted it's going to be odd not seeing goaltender Martin Brodeur in a New Jersey Devils jersey for the first time in 23 seasons.

"It will seem strange, but there's always that handoff," Emrick said. "The same question was raised when Steve Yzerman wouldn't be in Detroit anymore. Who takes over? As it turns out, it was Nicklas Lidstrom, not only as captain but as the face of the franchise.

"So that will be the intriguing thing; who will be the new face in New Jersey?"

At the end of last season, Brodeur cited a desire to play more games and that he would explore the free agent market to land with a team willing to provide that request. But since becoming an unrestricted free agent July 1, Brodeur has yet to sign a contract. At this stage, it appears the 42-year-old will be a spectator while awaiting another opportunity at the outset.

"I have been wondering who would find work first: Ray Shero, Dan Bylsma or Martin Brodeur," Emrick said Wednesday. "I think my answer is Marty because he'd be one of the first one or two No. 1 goalies out there if another goes down [by injury]."

Brodeur went 19-14-6 in 39 games with the Devils last season, and Cory Schneider, who becomes the starter this season, finished 16-15-12 in 45 games.

Emrick, who did the play-by-play for New Jersey for 21 years that featured Brodeur as he set numerous records, acknowledged it will be an unusual situation for the Devils.

"Whenever the jersey retirement is, that will be quite a ceremony, and if he winds up on another team and comes back to play in New Jersey, that will be rather awesome too," Emrick said. "I guess every franchise has this where a player that goes two decades comes back, so what happens?"

Brodeur, who holds NHL records in the regular season for career games (1,258), wins (687), shutouts (124) and most 40-win seasons (eight), won the Stanley Cup three times with the Devils (1995, 2000, 2003) and lost in the Stanley Cup Final twice (2001, 2012). He won the Vezina Trophy as the League's best goaltender four times (2003, 2004, 2007, 2008).

"I know that [Brodeur] provided me and a lot of Devils fans with a lot of lifetime thrills just from getting a chance to watch him play whether you were a fan or not," Emrick said. "When you saw that kind of excellence, you realized you were seeing something very special. We wish him well, but it will be unusual won't it? This arena (Prudential Center) has never seen him not as a regular guy."


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