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Vigneault: Schneider 'one of the best ? in the League'

by Dan Rosen /

NEWARK, N.J. -- New York Rangers coach Alain Vigneault will see a familiar goalie in the opposite net Saturday at Prudential Center as Cory Schneider is scheduled to get the start for the New Jersey Devils.

Schneider and Vigneault were together for the past several seasons with the Vancouver Canucks. They along with Roberto Luongo were part of the NHL's most publicized goaltending controversy in recent history.

Considering the opinion Vigneault offered on Schneider after the morning skate Saturday, clearly he thinks quite highly of his former goalie.

"I think he's one of the best goaltenders in the League," Vigneault said of Schneider. "He's really a student of the game and a great teammate. I'm sure that in time here people in Jersey are going to really appreciate him. He's a great goaltender."

Schneider is 0-2-1 with a 2.65 goals-against average and .908 save percentage in three starts for the winless Devils. He is getting his first start at home Saturday.

The decision to start Schneider is even more interesting because it's the first time Martin Brodeur hasn't started a home game against the Rangers when he wasn't hurt or just coming off an injury since Nov. 30, 1993.

Twice in recent seasons ex-Devils goalie Johan Hedberg started home games against the Rangers with Brodeur as his backup, but both times Brodeur had just been activated off injured reserve and wasn't quite ready to start yet.

Brodeur gave up four goals on 22 shots in a 5-2 loss to the Ottawa Senators on Thursday. He's off to a slow start, with a 3.40 GAA and .865 save percentage in four starts, and he said he understands why Schneider is getting the call Saturday and that he was prepared for it.

"I think my mindset is a lot different this year than it was in the past," Brodeur said. "Definitely it's a little strange. It's hard to get going. Usually it's easier to shrug off tough games when you just keep going, keep going, keep going, but it doesn't seem like it's going to be like that this year. Just have to adjust a little bit, do different things to get myself ready."


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