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Former Devils remember Brodeur 'as a winner'

by Mike G. Morreale /

NEW YORK -- Retired New Jersey Devils defenseman Ken Daneyko, affectionately called "Mr. Devil" by many fans, watched with interest the retirement announcement by good friend and former teammate Martin Brodeur at Scottrade Center in St. Louis on Thursday.

One thing immediately struck him.

"I didn't see the New Jersey Devils logo in the background," Daneyko said with a grin. "It was a little awkward, I'm not going to lie. I guess I'm a little selfish. I would have liked to have seen the big Devils logo back there.

"Maybe down the road we will see Marty in front of the Devils logo because this was a subdued press conference [in St. Louis]. We're going to have, more sooner than later, the retirement night and jersey raising to the rafters. Maybe then we'll be able to soak in a little more about what Marty meant to the New Jersey Devils and the career he had."

Daneyko, who spent 12 seasons with Brodeur and won three Stanley Cup championships with him, understands why Brodeur took the senior adviser position offered by Blues general manager Doug Armstrong.

"He's an iconic player and figure, one of the most important players in the Devils organization," Daneyko said. "So would you like him back for the fans and to do something in some capacity in New Jersey? Of course. I can't answer hypothetical questions, but my gut feeling is that he'll be back in Jersey in some capacity eventually. But, who knows, if it works out real well in St. Louis, and I wouldn't begrudge him that, that's his life.

"As far as moving forward, the greats move on. Steve Yzerman was in Detroit for so many years and ended up going to Tampa Bay as a GM; he was Mr. Everything in Detroit."

Daneyko provides color analysis alongside Steve Cangialosi during broadcasts of Devils games on MSG Network. John MacLean, another former Brodeur teammate, serves as an in-studio analyst for the network. Each was in the League office Thursday for appearances on NHL Live on NHL Network.

"St. Louis took advantage of an opportunity and why wouldn't they?" said MacLean, who played six seasons with Brodeur. "The only sadness from my perspective is that he's not playing anymore, but I was lucky enough to play with him, and if he's happy, we should be happy for him too."

MacLean said he feels Brodeur will be a great asset to the Blues organization. MacLean has an understanding of the business side after serving as an assistant coach with the Devils and Carolina Hurricanes, and as coach of the Devils for 33 games in 2010-11.

"He's another bridge for those players to talk to because he's right out of the game," MacLean said. "He instantly has tremendous credibility because he's a winner.

"I didn't dwell on anything coming out of the presser other than the fact that he's retiring and moving on. He has an opportunity and he's going to take advantage of the opportunity. He will have his day in New Jersey, both parties [Brodeur and the Devils] have stated that fact."

Daneyko said he knows Brodeur has an interest in the managerial side of hockey, and getting his start in the business in St. Louis might be the best-case scenario. Brodeur said he doesn't feel as if he'll be pressured and, at the same time, management will want to utilize his knowledge and expertise on several fronts.

"Marty won't really realize things until three or four years from now with regard to his career," said Daneyko, whose No. 3 jersey is retired at Prudential Center alongside Scott Niedermayer (27) and Scott Stevens (4).

"It took three or four years for me before I really began to absorb our Stanley Cup wins and the fact I played with such great players, including maybe the greatest goalie of all time. We counted on him night in and night out; what else could you ask for in your most important player."

When Daneyko and MacLean were asked how Brodeur should be remembered, they each had a similar response: "As a winner."

"He made every big save at the right time, whether he had 17 shots or 30 shots," Daneyko said. "The puck wasn't in our end as long as it was for other teams because of Marty's ability to control it. Teams had to game plan against him, and he was a big reason why there weren't as many shots on us."

MacLean said, "He is one of the few goalies that didn't have that goalie personality. You would think he was a left wing at times because he had such a high hockey IQ and was a steady influence in the locker room. If he were playing any other position, he would have become captain at some point, but no question he was a great teammate."


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