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He's Still Got it

By: Brian Deakyne

Heading into this season, there were many questions surrounding the Devils goalie Martin Brodeur, arguably the greatest goalie in the history of the game, coming off the first injury in his career that cost him to miss significant time.

On May 17th, Brodeur surpassed Patrick Roy as the National Hockey League's all-time wins leader, earning his 552nd win as the Devils beat the Blackhawks 3-2.

However, prior to that night, the concept of Brodeur holding that title seemed far-off after Brodeur suffered a torn biceps tendon that required surgery, sidelining the three-time Stanley cup winner for nearly four months.

Many questioned whether Brodeur, now 37, would be able to continue as a dominant goalie, something that has been always been a definite for him, now in his 19th season with New Jersey.

The man who has his very own rule named after him has answered those questions, now four months into the season, ranking in the top ten in the four major goal tending statistics:

Goals Against Average: 2.17 (5th in NHL)
Save Percentage: .921 (10th in NHL)
Wins: 31 (1st in NHL)
Shutouts: 7 (1st in NHL)

Still, the legacy of Martin Brodeur goes so much farther than his stats. The man simply referred to as "Marty" in Newark is one of the rare goaltenders who don't play the typical butterfly style, but rather a stand-up, or half-butterfly.

For those unaware of the styles played by goalies, a stand-up is a goalie who remains on his skates and squaring to the puck, rather than a butterfly goalie, who drops to his knees, which is much more popular now.

What makes Brodeur so talented is the way he plays the style. He has invented his own version of it, the 'half-butterfly', occasionally dropping to one knee so that he can stop low shots, but giving himself the chance to get back up quickly, if necessary. Separating him from the rest of goalies in the league, still, is his athleticism--the result of his flashy glove saves, knocking pucks out of mid-air, and of course, the ability to score a goal.

And that alone is the reason why so many hockey fans either love, or hate, him.

In New Jersey, I'd say they lean a little more towards the loving side.


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