Fellow goaltenders are blown away by Martin Brodeur
. They just can't seem to wrap their heads around how many games he's played and how durable he had been until his elbow injury this season. They marvel at his carefree demeanor and his intensity.
Yes, all current and former goalies wish they could have at least a sliver of Brodeur's never-before-seen mixture of calm, confidence, competitiveness, talent and charisma. Not one person NHL.com spoke to said a bad, or even remotely negative, word about Brodeur.
Here is what some members of the goaltending fraternity had to say:
John Vanbiesbrouck, NHL veteran and former Brodeur backup
"The specialty that Marty has is he loves to play the game. I can't overemphasize that enough because a lot of times people look at playing these games as being locked in a chamber and they can't handle the stress and anxiety, but Marty does it with open arms. I truly believe his favorite place to be in the world is between those pipes."
Ryan Miller, Buffalo Sabres
is my favorite goaltender. There's not one thing out of his game that I can pick out and say, 'Hey, I do things just like him.' Marty's outstanding. I appreciate the way he competes and he finds a way to play the game every night. The amount of time he spends in the net during the season is amazing. He's been resilient. He's been at the highest level and he’s doing it in the toughest fashion where he's playing 70-plus games every year and he just keeps coming back. I feel privileged playing against him and I feel privileged to interact with him, talk to him and get to know him."
Ken Holland, Detroit Red Wings GM and former NHL goalie
"The whole world has gone to the Patrick Roy
butterfly style, but Marty is still a hybrid. He butterflies when he has to, but he's a stand-up guy. He's got a timeless style. When he first came into the League, he was the best among all the stand-up goalies. Now everybody is going to the butterfly, and he's got this combination of butterfly and stand 'em up and he's still the best or in everybody's top two or three."
Corey Schwab, San Jose Sharks coach and former Brodeur backup
"The one thing about Marty is he's a good person and he was like that from the first time I played with him in Utica until the end. He treated everybody the same. It didn't matter if you were a star player, a rookie or a fourth-liner. He sets the tone with his work ethic and the way he competes and yet he can have a conversation with anybody on the team. That helps the whole team chemistry knowing you can talk to the best goalie in the world about whatever you want."
Kevin Weekes, Brodeur's current backup
"Obviously I have the ability to play more, but the reality is look at who my partner is. He wants to play, and it's difficult to say he's not playing. That's just the reality of it. He deserves to play given who he is."
Mike Smith, Tampa Bay Lightning
"I watched Marty in the NHL when I was a kid. He's a tremendous goalie and tremendous athlete. Growing up, I idolized a guy like Patrick Roy
, but Marty is obviously one of the best to ever play. I wish him all the best."
Curtis Joseph, Toronto Maple Leafs
"It's hard enough to play goal in this League, let alone at that level, but what's amazing is he plays so much. To score on him you have to run him, take him down, do whatever. It's even more amazing when you think about it that way. You just have to talk to him. He's very smart and that's one of his big advantages."
Ron Hextall, Los Angeles Kings Assistant GM and former NHLer
"Marty has his own style and he's perfected it. When you look at goalie style, he's got the best. He's a real student of the game and he really reads the game well. When he goes down, he goes down for a reason. Otherwise he stays on his feet, which allows him to make a lateral move or adjust his angle. The way most guys play these days they are automatically down as soon as they think a shot is coming. So, if the guy passes it across, they're done. Marty stands up and reacts to everything. If I had advice for a youngster coming up, I would tell them to watch Marty Brodeur."
Roberto Luongo, Vancouver Canucks
"Year after year, it's not only the number of games that he's played, but the consistency level that he's shown every year. His numbers keep getting better and that's not something that is easy to do."
Chico Resch, New Jersey Devils broadcaster
"Marty's style was tailor-made for the defensive style, more so than the butterfly. If you're getting pounded with shots you're smarter to be in a butterfly because that's getting hit, and you want to be hit. But, when you're playing in the environment he does, his thing is to make a save and get it off to where you have those defensemen. Marty Brodeur has started more rushes out of his team's end than any other goalie because he knows how to get it out."
Stephane Waite, Chicago Blackhawks goalie coach
"You can see it every time he goes to the net. He's so relaxed and loose. He just plays. He doesn't think too much. A lot of goalies think too much. They over-guess the shots. Not him. He just reacts."
Benoit Allaire, New York Rangers goalie coach
"He had his style, so why would the guy change? He is a special guy. You're talking about a guy that is now going to be the best goalie ever in the NHL. That's why I think we should copy what he is doing, too."
Marc-Andre Fleury, Pittsburgh Penguins
"Most of the people are doing butterfly in Quebec, but it's great to see him having so much success without doing it. It's good to have that in a goalie's mind that you don't always need to go down on your knees. It gives the players a different look. They don't know what you're going to do. It's not as predictable. I am mostly a butterfly goalie, but sometimes I can do different stuff, stuff that I saw him doing before."
Jonathan Bernier, Los Angeles Kings prospect
"I'm at that point where I'm almost going to compete against him, but it would be great to meet him and have a chat with him. At the same time you can't be too gaga. I would have been (a few years ago). I'd still be now, but at least now I'd keep it inside."
Martin Biron, Philadelphia Flyers
"When you think of Marty, you think of this ironman mentality in the way that he has been able to play 70 games a year for mostly his whole career. He put a team on his back and carried them through the Stanley Cup championships and the great regular seasons and the Olympics. You name it, he's done it. It's not so much how he stops the puck, what matters is if he stopped it or not. These are qualities of Hall of Famers. They do it year in and year out for so long."
Patrick Roy, Hockey Hall of Famer
"It's amazing to see how many games he's been able to handle and for a long time. He's been very consistent over the years. I knew, when I decided to retire, maybe I could have played two or three more years, but I didn't want to play just to protect the (all-time wins) record. Marty is a guy that can play a long time. He's strong. He can handle a lot of games."
Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers
"I get the opportunity here to play against one of the best goaltenders in this League. It speaks for itself when you look at his stats. It doesn't really matter what team you're playing in this League because you're always going to face a great goaltender, but Marty is obviously one of the best. It kind of makes you want to play even better when you face a great goaltender."
Rick DiPietro, New York Islanders
"I've had this conversation with a lot of people. Within my lifetime you're seeing some of the best athletes of all time. You have Tiger Woods and Roger Federer. And these guys are continuing to make records. You may see A-Rod break the home run record. You saw Barry Bonds break it already. But Marty will go down as possibly the best of all time. He's going to break all the records. So, for someone that plays the position, you can really have an appreciation for what he's able to do, especially with the 70-plus games in 10-straight seasons. That's a pretty amazing feat."
Mike Dunham, Islanders goalie coach and former Brodeur backup
"If Marty could, I think would play all 82 games every season. It's another record he could have if he wanted it."
Jean-Sebastien Giguere, Anaheim Ducks
"No, Marty doesn't (play the butterfly). He's very unorthodox that way. To me, it shows how much talent he has. To be able to play like he plays and be as successful as he is…it's just so much talent. It's so natural for him to make the save. That's pretty amazing to me."
Evgeni Nabokov, San Jose Sharks
"To get to this point you have to play that many games since you're 18 or 19 or 20. To me, it's amazing that he's played in that many games since he was that young. When you're 25 or 26 or 27 and you play in that many games, it's kind of a given, right? But, when you're 18 or 19 or 20, you're trying to learn the game and you just came from junior. It amazes me that the guys can do this. That means the guy has tremendous talent and mental toughness. That's what Marty and Patrick Roy
have shown. That's amazing."
Billy Smith, Hockey Hall of Famer
"He's the best goalie in the NHL. His style is a lot similar to my style. It always makes me laugh when I see people coaching goalies and everybody teaches goalies butterfly. Does it work for Patrick Roy
? Yeah, he's 6-foot-4. For a guy my size, and I'm 5-10, if I go down on my knees and play the butterfly everything is going to go over my shoulders. Marty Brodeur, I'm glad to see it. He's a stand up and does the one knee drop. All of us were stand-up goalies in the old days. Now everybody wants to be a butterfly. They block the puck instead of want to control it and that's why Marty Brodeur is the best in the League. He controls it."
Contact Dan Rosen at email@example.com