-- It may be a gameday for Martin Brodeur
, but Saturday morning's schedule was hardly routine.
The day started at the New Jersey Devils
' hotel, where Patrick Roy
, Brodeur's childhood idol, showed up to wish him good luck. Brodeur will attempt to tie Roy's all-time record of 551 NHL victories Saturday night at the Bell Centre.
Brodeur then hopped in a car, with his own driver and security, and headed down to the Bell Centre for his bi-lingual press conference. His brother, Denis Brodeur Jr., took photos for his web-site and his dad, Denis Sr., sat in the back row and listened.
The press conference lasted about 15 minutes after which Brodeur went off to do more one-on-one television and radio interviews. Meanwhile, inside the press room, Denis Sr. made the rounds, doing television interviews in English and French.
Brodeur didn't suit up for a morning skate, but he rarely does. He was out of the Bell Centre by 11:30 so he could begin to focus on the task at hand -- Saturday night's game against the Montreal Canadiens
Here is a portion of the transcript from his press conference:
What did you do last night?
"Not much. I just went out to dinner with a couple of my buddies and my wife. This morning, coming here for a press conference is not something I do too much on the road or even at home in the regular season anyway. And, I had the pleasure to meet Patrick this morning. Well, not meet him, but talk to him a little bit. I've met him before.
How did the conversation go?
"It went well. He just wanted to say hi and he wished me good luck on tonight's game. It's nice of him. I think he has a busy schedule coaching a junior team. It's not easy for him to get around, but he came by this morning."
What has it been like knowing that your chasing history and it could happen here at the Bell Centre, near where you grew up?
"It's exciting times. I'd be lying to say it's just another day. I try to keep it like that mentally to get my focus to play a great game tonight, but I know there is a lot of attention and it's a big deal. I'm just trying to take it in stride, enjoying every moment of it. I want this to be a great day and hopefully today is the day, but it might not be so I don't want to disappoint anybody. Everybody is here to see it and hopefully we'll give it to them."
When you came back (from your injury), when did you actually look at the calendar and say Montreal might be a possibility?
"Well, I never looked at Montreal because it was eight games (into his return) and I didn't know how I would start my comeback from my injury, how well I was going to be able to play or how many games I was going to be able to play. So, Montreal was never in my mind that much. When I started winning, after four straight games, it popped up a little bit. I thought, 'Oh, maybe Montreal could be the one.' We had a little hiccup in Long Island (7-3 loss last Saturday), but played well the last two and now we're here. We're definitely looking forward to tonight."
What do you remember about your first win over Patrick at the Montreal Forum (Dec. 8, 1993) and where does that rank in terms of the head-to-heads you've had against him in the regular season and the playoffs?
"Well, definitely the first win, it didn't matter if it was Patrick or anybody else, I was playing in the Forum, where I grew up watching the Canadiens play. It was an unbelievable feeling. I remember just hearing the Canadian national anthem, looking at the banners, being there was just an unbelievable feat. I didn't expect myself to be in any kind of competition with Patrick at that time of my career. After that, I think there are a lot of great matchups between me and Patrick through the years, when he was with the Canadiens and Colorado, too. Definitely one of the most disappointing times in my life was losing to him in Game 7 in Colorado (in the 2001 Stanley Cup Final). I wish I could have that game back, but in hockey it doesn't work like that."
What is the most pressure you have ever felt in a game?
"The two Game 7s for the Stanley Cup Final was probably the toughest games I had to do, the one against Colorado and the one against Anaheim. There were different results in both of them. Tonight, being anxious to get to the game will be a little nerve wracking for me, but when that puck is dropped and you'll have 21,000 people cheering for their team, I'll forget about what is going on."
How much longer do you think you'll play?
"I have three years left on my contract and I definitely would like to honor that and from there we'll reevaluate the passion that I have for the game. You know, spending these 50 games away from the game this year put a lot of things in perspective for me, and I'm definitely not ready to retire -- not now, anyway."
How do you see the difference between the way you and Patrick play net?
"Patrick was a guy that everybody emulated their style from and I'm a guy that nobody did, so I don't know, who's the pioneer here? (laughs) … Patrick was somebody that all the kids in Montreal and I looked up to as far as how he played, how competitive he was and I thought it was interesting the way he behaved himself as far as being a winner and how focused he was. A lot of people took his play as an example of how to be better goalies around the League. For me, well, God gave me a certain talent to play the game. I had the same attitude about the game as Patrick, but just not as technical as him. I learned from a lot of different goalies. I look at Patrick and I thought he was great. I look at Dominik Hasek
and I thought he was great. I look at other goalies, like Eddie Belfour, too, and I try to take everything from everybody and incorporate it into my game just because I was able to do that. Other goalies maybe have a hard time adjusting themselves to different styles, but I was able to do a lot of the things out there. But, like I said, everybody plays like Patrick, so figure it out."
Since Patrick was the guy you watched so much growing up, is it still special for you to talk to him? Is it still a different feeling for you?
"I have three years left on my contract and I definitely would like to honor that and from there we'll reevaluate the passion that I have for the game. You know, spending these 50 games away from the game this year put a lot of things in perspective for me, and I'm definitely not ready to retire -- not now, anyway." -- Martin Brodeur on how much longer he would like to continue to play
"I don't see Patrick like many other people see Patrick. I played with him. I played against him. I've known him pretty well through the years. We're not the closest friends, everybody knows that. We're not the guys that are calling each other. We played in somewhat different eras and those six years we have between each other in age makes a difference. But, I was happy to see him today and every time I have a chance, when we're in the same room, we'll take time to talk. It's definitely special to hear from him today. I never said any different, he's a guy that I looked up to when I was young, so any time you have a chance to meet and talk and now maybe tie your idol's record, it's pretty cool. Not many athletes are able to do that."
Contact Dan Rosen at firstname.lastname@example.org