NHL.com's Q&A feature called "Five Questions With …" runs every Tuesday. We talk to key figures in the game and ask them questions to gain insight into their lives, careers and the latest news.
The latest edition features St. Louis Blues assistant general manager Martin Brodeur:
Martin Brodeur is experiencing the emotion of being in the conference final for the seventh time in his pro hockey career, except this time he's in the Western Conference Final and he's sitting in the press box wearing a suit.
Talk about different.
Brodeur, the assistant general manager of the St. Louis Blues and three-time Stanley Cup champion goalie of the New Jersey Devils, admits he's having fun with this Stanley Cup Playoff run and he especially likes it because he isn't getting beat up.
"I enjoy getting up in the morning and not being sore," Brodeur said. "If I have a sore ankle, what, am I not going to go to the office tomorrow because of it? What am I going to say, my finger hurts, I don't think I can reach the D on the keyboard? No, it's way different now."
Video: A salute to Martin Brodeur
Way different but still pretty great for reasons even Brodeur couldn't have imagined when he officially retired on Jan. 29, 2015. He wondered if he'd miss playing. He doesn't, because he's still involved.
"The best thing is I stretched my playing career out as long as anybody could stretch it out, and I was ready to move on," Brodeur said. "Staying close to the game helps me to deal with it. If I would be completely out and I would watch the playoffs I think I would miss it. But now I'm so close to it still, the adrenaline still goes and it's fun. It's fun to be a part of it."
Brodeur, the NHL's all-time leader in wins (691), shutouts (125) and games played (1,266), among many other statistics, spoke more about his role with the Blues and what it's like for him to be a spectator during this playoff run.
Here are Five Questions with…Martin Brodeur:
What is it like for you to be in the position you're in right now with the Blues, watching this run through two rounds and into the third, considering you've never done it this way before?
"Oh, it's been fun. I'm not here to win or lose games, I'm here to learn what's next for me in hockey. So I'm in a position where I work for a great organization that is having success right now and I'm taking it all in. This run has been great, but I didn't sign up for the wins and losses, it's instead to really see how an organization works with the prospects, the amateur side, the pro side, somewhat of the business side although not as much. So, for me, going through what I'm going through, it's all positive. And because I live in St. Louis it makes it even better because now you have a feel for this organization, what the fans here went through all of these years, and getting some success now and how electric it is for them and how appreciative they are about the St. Louis Blues, the ownership group and the players that have been here for 10 or so years. Now finally they feel it's coming to fruition for them."
So what have you learned? What can someone in your position gain out of a playoff run?
"Well, as a player you try to learn how to win, and when you get exposed to success there's also disappointment that comes along the way. So it becomes about how you deal with the ups and downs. When you're sitting upstairs now you don't feel them as much. You are disappointed or you're really happy, but you don't drink that all day. For me that's kind of interesting because what's weird is when I walk out of the rink, I just walk out of the rink. You're a fan to a certain extent, especially at this time of the year because scouting is over. You're looking at other games in case you move on, but there isn't really a whole lot to do until we start prepping for the draft. I'm gaining more of a big picture, but right now it's just a fun ride to be on. Again, I'm not the one making any kinds of decisions here. I'm sure if you ask the same question to [Blues GM] Doug [Armstrong] he'll probably have a different answer. It's harder when you're in charge. We're there, we're enjoying the ride, and I know in a couple of weeks I have assignments that I have to fulfill for the organization. We have our amateur meetings, the draft coming up, but the team is playing. As a player you live in the moment, but what we do it's bigger picture. You're looking at kids you need to sign, the minor league team comes into play, the prospects, free agents that we're going to let go or keep. It's a bigger picture at this stage, but when you don't live it, when you're a player, you just live in the moment. You don't care about anything else. You don't care about the guys in the minors or the guys in juniors. Being part of management, it's a whole different thing. Nobody is ruffling my feathers now. I'm not going to get into an argument with my boss or a co-worker, but on a hockey team you do."
Video: EDM@NJD: Brodeur honored by Devils, number retired
When you're watching games from upstairs in the press box, are you all in? Are you with Doug Armstrong, reacting with emotion to all the plays, the saves, the goals? Are you fully emotionally invested?
"Oh, I'm totally invested. I have spent so much time with them, with the coaching staff and with Doug. I'm on the road now every single game in the playoffs. You get emotionally invested in the team you work for. Al MacInnis is with us all the time also. We're playing the game upstairs as much as they're playing it down there."
What is your take on Brian Elliott and what he has done for the Blues in the playoffs?
"The best thing about him is how competitive he is. He doesn't quit on anything. He goes out and works very hard in practices. Sometimes as a goalie, it doesn't matter how good you are, everything has to fall right for you. It was that kind of a season for him. Jake [Allen] took over as the No. 1 in the middle of the season, he gets injured on a fluke play in Anaheim and that gives Ells a chance. But to his credit he never was unhappy about the situation. He stayed positive. He supported the team. The next thing you know he took over the team. That's just more power to him. Everything that is happening for him now he deserves it because he's the one who made it happen for himself. It's kind of nice because the whole organization here was in a standstill as far as success, having good teams and not being able to get over the hump, and Ells was part of it. He was part of it all so it's kind of nice for guys like him and [David] Backes and [Alex] Pietrangelo to be factors in this, not just be somebody playing on the team. They're the reason why we are at where we are at right now. You always think about successful teams, but you go through some hardship before you get some success. The Detroit Red Wings were the same way. In New Jersey, we won in '95, but after that for four years we never had a sniff at it. The next thing you know we went on a run of three Stanley Cup Finals in four years in 2000, 2001 and 2003. You learn from these things, you grow, you add pieces and the pieces you add start to understand the organization and where it's coming from. When you click, something great can happen."
What did you think of Ben Bishop's injury in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final?
"Yeah, that was a weird one. I didn't know where he got hurt and I still don't. Obviously they're pretty vague about injuries, but it's too bad. It's been two years in a row that he's moving along and then he gets an injury. It's hard. He's a competitor. Hopefully he gets back in there. But when you have thoughts of winning a Stanley Cup and you can't stay healthy, that's unfortunate. But he just kind of fell down backwards. You look at him stretch before games and it seems like he does that move all the time."