-- Glenn "Chico" Resch feels if New Jersey Devils
goalie Martin Brodeur
were to take home the Vezina Trophy in June, it would be the most deserved of his 16 NHL seasons.
Resch, a veteran of 14 NHL seasons as a goalie and a current television analyst for the MSG Network, wasn't surprised when Brodeur's name was listed among this year's nominees as the League's top goaltender.
The general managers of the 30 NHL clubs submitted ballots for the Vezina Trophy at the conclusion of the regular season, with the top three vote-getters designated as finalists. In addition to Brodeur, Ilya Bryzgalov
of the Phoenix Coyotes
and Ryan Miller
of the Buffalo Sabres
were also nominated. The winner will be announced at the 2010 NHL Awards ceremony on June 23 at the Pearl Concert Theater inside the Palms Hotel in Las Vegas.
"When you look at the history of past Vezina winners, it's not always the goalie who was unbelievably spectacular," Resch told NHL.com. "It's the goalie who didn't self-destruct, break down or give up those goals that hurt his team. I think it's Marty's consistency that was even greater this year than his brilliance in years past. When you factor in his age and the number of games he played, it's pretty impressive."
Brodeur led all NHL goaltenders in games-played (77), victories (45) and shutouts (9), and captured his fifth career Jennings Trophy (fewest team goals-against). The Montreal native, who turns 38 on May 6, topped Patrick Roy
's record for career games by a goaltender (1,076) and surpassed Terry Sawchuk
as the NHL's all-time shutout leader (110). He also matched Roy with his 13th 30-win season and extended his own record for 40-win campaigns (8).
"He's been doing it for so long he kind of flew under the radar this year," Resch admitted. "People, during the course of the year, weren't saying, 'Oh Marty is having this unbelievable year.' Like Marty always says, 'Don't judge me on one or two bad games, don't judge me on one or two terrific games. Just let it play out and then at the end of the season, decide.'
"If the Devils didn't overachieve, they achieved about as much as humanly possible. So when you look at it, he deserves it."
Brodeur is a Vezina finalist for the ninth time. He's won the award on four occasions, in 2003, '04, '07 and '08.
"When I talk to other goalies about Marty, they tell me they would see him make the save in an extremely close, pressurized, intense situation and marvel at how he's able to do it," Resch said. "He'll do it just going down on one knee. For those other goalies, that's a moment where they'd drop and just block all the area. But Marty is able to retain his focus, wait for the moment of release and then use his reflexes to react where everyone else has committed to blocking a certain area.
" think it's Marty's consistency that was even greater this year than his brilliance in years past. When you factor in his age and the number of games he played, it's pretty impressive."
-- Chico Resch on Martin Brodeur
"To me, the young butterfly goalies of today will never know how to do that because they never even attempted to play that way, even from the time they were kids."
Brodeur, who was one of five goalies in the League to win 40-or-more games this season, is honored to be considered among the League's elite -- once again.
"You play all year and try to be the best you can be for your team, and to get nominated for the award is great," Brodeur said during a conference call. "It's not the first time but the older you get, the more you appreciate it. There are younger goalies out there, so it's nice to be part of an elite group again."
Resch believes one reason Brodeur is so unbelievably consistent stems from the fact he's able to earn the trust of each of his teammates.
"He's got that ability, because of his record, to get the defensemen and forwards to trust what he says," Resch said. "All they need to do is take away the option. Take away the side door, the back door, the 2-on-1 pass and just allow Marty the shooter. It sounds simple, but so often it doesn't happen because either the defense gets nervous and breaks down or the goalie doesn't make the save. But he just wants the shooter. People that come to the Devils are told, if you play this style, Marty Brodeur will really compliment the defensive part of your game, and that would put anyone's mind at peace on a good team."
Contact Mike Morreale at email@example.com