NEWARK, N.J. -- Former New Jersey Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur returned to the state where it all began Saturday to witness the dedication of "The Salute," an 11-foot statue built in his honor and unveiled to fans on the corner of Mulberry and Lafayette streets outside Prudential Center.
The Devils first displayed "The Salute" to fans on Feb. 8. The bronze statue is complete with his helmet, stick, pads, glove, blocker and skates. The new black base where the statue stands includes a description, his accomplishments and records, his autograph and the Devils logo.
"I think it's a great honor for me to have that statue outside and for people to just kind of enjoy it," Brodeur said. "We built something great here in New Jersey over the last 25 years and when I was here. It's just one of the pieces though. The other four pieces are hanging in the rafters here in the form of jersey retirements (for Brodeur, Scott Stevens, Ken Daneyko, Scott Niedermayer), a sign of the success we've had."
Brodeur retired after 21 seasons and was hired by the St. Louis Blues as assistant general manager on May 20, 2015. He is the NHL's all-time leader in regular-season wins (691), shutouts (125), games played (1,266) and minutes played (74,439). In the Stanley Cup Playoffs, he ranks first in starts (204) and shutouts (24), and is second in wins (113). Brodeur signed with the Blues on Dec. 2, 2014 and played seven games for St. Louis before retiring.
Video: MIN@NJD: Devils honor Brodeur at Prudential Center
"I feel really fortunate to be able to sit back and enjoy what I've done and being so successful," Brodeur said. "There's no regret in what I've accomplished in my career. When you retire and you don't play the game you kind of understand that you sometimes take things for granted because the day-to-day life with games and travel, you really don't stop to thank people and enjoy yourself as much as you should.
"Retirement gives you that opportunity to look back on this and all the support in playing for a great organization."
Brodeur was accompanied at the dedication by Devils co-owner David Blitzer, Newark central ward councilwoman Gayle Chaneyfield, and NHL Network analyst Kevin Weekes. Devils general manager Ray Shero and Daneyko also were at the ceremony.
Weekes introduced Brodeur as "the best ever that played the position; the best Devil of all time."
The statue was created by New Jersey native and professional abstract sculptor Jon Krawczyk, and weighs almost 1,000 pounds. The pose features Brodeur raising his goalie stick with his right hand, winking to his children in the stands. Brodeur's No. 30 was retired by the Devils on Feb. 9.
Brodeur was asked why his hybrid style of play isn't duplicated more often by young goalies.
"Goalies are playing well right now so I don't know if they want to change," he said. "I just felt that was the way I was going to play for my success. I didn't expect anyone to follow in my footsteps, I just wanted to just stop the puck. It didn't look pretty but I just wanted to get it done."
The timing of the event is fitting because Hockey Hall of Fame defenseman Scott Stevens and Minnesota Wild left wing Zach Parise, former teammates of Brodeur with the Devils, are in New Jersey to play the Devils on Saturday. Stevens was hired as an assistant coach by the Wild on June 7.
"I think hard work and fun go together and me and Marty worked hard and we did have fun and we had fun winning," Stevens said. "Marty was a competitor. He wanted to stop every shot and when we were on the ice it was pretty much business. That's how he played and prepared and we had fun doing that."
Stevens and Brodeur each played a key role for the Devils in Stanley Cup titles in 1995, 2000 and 2003. What did Stevens admire most about Brodeur?
"His mental toughness," he said. "His focus on games, letting go certain things made him a great goalie besides his athleticism and how he played the game. He wasn't a butterfly goalie, but was so skilled and athletic he didn't have to go down on every shot like most goalies do these days. He was good at handling, playing and passing the puck."