June 6, 2012
Now that the Devils are down 3-0 to the Los Angeles Kings, hockey fans are left to ponder whether or not Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals will be his last. Now 40 years old, Brodeur will become a free agent when the season ends and it will be interesting to see if the Devils bring Brodeur back for one more season.
His stats over his lustrous career speak for themselves; he ranks as the all-time best goaltender in games played(1,191), wins(656), losses(371), goals against(2,603), shots against(29,915), and saves(27,312).
While one could argue that his stats sit at No. 1 because he’s simply played more than anyone else in the history of the NHL, Brodeur has earned it. Players, especially goalies, don’t get to play based on their past accolades; they must prove that they are still worthy of time on the ice. Brodeur has won 30-plus games a remarkable seven times since turning the age of 30.
He’s a sports legend that deserves credit for playing with one team his entire career. He’ll never don another NHL sweater and the league will never have another Brodeur. He’s won the Calder Memorial Trophy(Rookie of the Year), a four-time Vezina winner(best goaltender), three Stanley Cups and two Olympic Gold Medals with his native Canadian squad.
Coming into the Finals this year, many fans may have been thinking that there is no way that Brodeur would retire after the playoffs were done. All of a sudden, those thoughts are changing as the 40-year-old future Hall of Famer looks tired. Given, the Kings have steamrolled every team they’ve played this postseason, but Brodeur looks out of sync. It’s very difficult for a team in the NHL to make it to the Finals in any given season, nonetheless two years in a row and the chances of Brodeur playing any longer than one final season is a bit absurd.
He still displays a competitive fire that’s hard to match, but knowing that the chance to win another Cup was so close yet unattainable may be enough for Brodeur to call it quits. If and when he decides to retire, he may as well have his own room in the Hall of Fame.
April 12, 2012
The NHL playoffs begin tonight, considered by many to be the best playoff atmosphere of any sport. Each first round series has a compelling storyline and even the 8th seeds have a shot at advancing. So who will win each series? That is exactly what I will tell you in the following predictions. After breakind down the Western Conference yesterday (to read it, click here.), we take a look at the Eastern Conference.
(1)Rangers vs. (8)Senators
A 1vs.8 series should be a no-brainer, right? Wrong. Ottawa took 3 of 4 from the Rangers during the regular season. The Senators have a solid combination of young stars (Erik Karlsson) and veteran leadership (Daniel Alfredsson), which makes them a very dangerous 8 seed. The Rangers, though, have a great goalie in Henrik Lundqvist and that could be the deciding factor in this series.
Prediction: Rangers in 6.
(2)Bruins vs. (7)Capitals
I will point to goalies as the key in almost all of these breakdowns, and the Capitals goalie situation is in dire straits. With Thomas Vokoun and Michal Neuvirth out, the Capitals will be likely be relying on a rookie early on. The Capitals will get Nicklas Backstrom back to team with Alex Ovechkin, but with Tim Thomas in net and Zdeno Chara on defense, I like the Bruins to escape this series.
Prediction: Bruins in 5.
(3)Panthers vs. (6)Devils
The Devils are hot (no pun intended). They are on a six game winning streak and actually scored more points in the regular season than their higher seeded opponent. Add that with veteran goaltender Martin Brodeur and they are a dangerous team. The Panthers haven’t been to the playoffs since 2000, and will be looking to prove they belong back in the postseason. Unfortunately, they won’t get that chance this year.
Prediction: Devils in 6.
(4)Penguins vs. (5) Flyers
For many, this is the series to watch during the first round. It is always great when in-state rivals go head to head in the playoffs and this series shouldn’t be an exception. This should be a very physical series and also be very high scoring. Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin will make things difficult for Ilya Bryzgalov and the Flyers, who are missing a lot of pieces heading into the playoffs. However, the Flyers have talented young players who, if they can step up, will make a big decision in this series. With so many “ifs” on the Flyers side, the Penguins seem to be in a better spot in this series.
Prediction: Penguins in 7.