Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur talked last week about he thought more about getting to Patrick Roy's record wins total of 551 than breaking the mark, but now that he's reached that milestone, what will it mean to him to get win No. 552?
He'll take his first shot at it Tuesday night against Chicago at Prudential Center.
"It just puts myself in a class of my own, I guess, for now," he said after today's practice at The Rock. ""When people look at stats, right now there's two names at 551. There will be one name at 552 when I get there eventually. So, that's the bottom line. After that it's all 553 and just trying to raise the bar. You're one game away and it's definitely a fun ride for me. The last couple of weeks have been great. So, let's get it over with so we can finish talking about this and you guys can go on and have other stories."
Brodeur said tying Roy's record Saturday in his hometown Montreal made it "a perfect day" for him.Getting a chance to break the record in New Jersey means a lot to him too, though.
"I haven't done a lot of stuff in New Jersey," he said. "It seems like every time I get a milestone, it's always on the road. So, definitely, tomorrow I have a chance to do it in front of the fans here in New Jersey and they deserve to see that. So, hopefully we'll be able to give it to them. It means a lot. This is home for me. Everybody will be here, my family and kids and stuff, so it will definitely be nice."
He's not a believer, however, that his record will never be broken.
"I was able to get there maybe a little quicker than Patrick just because we don't have ties anymore, so there's a winner every single game -- even though in my record I have (105) ties. That's still a lot of ties," he said. "The new goalies won't have that. I don't think it's going to be untouchable. I think people will get there. I think it's all about the amount of games, how generations will perform. I came in and I was able to play a lot of games (986).
"In the history of the game, there's one guy that played more than me and that's Patrick, 1029. So, I'm (43) games away from him and both of us accomplished that. The next one is the next to 500 wins. The goalies will have to play a lot. Depending on if goalies are able to have that workload, if organizations are able to leave a goalie alone for 15 years and say, 'Here's the door. You go on the ice whenever you want.' they might have a chance to be close to it."
Here's the rest of what Brodeur had to say today. Some of it is repetitive from what's been asked before because there were some different reporters there today, but I included it anyway.
On wanting to get the record over with quickly and moving on:
"I wanted try to do this as quickly as possible, so hopefully we won't drag this thing on. I'm happy that I was able to tie it up in Montreal. Now, it's just a matter of winning my next one and it's all going to be over. It will be definitely be nice if we're able to do it tomorrow. It's definitely a young team coming in here. It's the first time I'll be facing some of the young guys on the other side."
On whether he's reflected back on his career during the last couple of weeks:
"That's probably mostly [the media that does it] . It's hard to reflect on anything when it's not over, yet. It's normal when you have an accomplishment that I'm going through right now. I'm glad to answer all the questions about it. But, to me, it's just another. Hopefully, we'll get through this and after that we'll move on. But until I'm done I want to set the bar as high as I can for everybody else that's following me."
What were the last two days like?
"Yesterday was pretty quiet. I was real tired from all the emotion of Saturday night. I was kind of happy just sitting back, hanging here in New Jersey
Do you approach these days any differently know what Tuesday's game can mean?
"I try not to do too much. I know there's a lot of demands on me everywhere. Everybody wants to talk to me about it if it happens. I have to stay focused on what I have to do and that's play hockey. So, my team has been doing a great job for me to help me out and make the decision for me so I don't have to say 'no' to too many people, but it's been pretty good."
Do you have a number in mind for how many wins you can get before you retire?
"No. I don't have a number. Like I said in my press conference in Montreal, definitely when I'm going to be done (getting the record), the next thing is 600 is the roundest number out there. It would be nice to get to that. That's another 40-something games away, so it's not going to probably be this year or next year, but it will definitely on the horizon, hopefully. I think that's the number that's realistic to see that number and then we'll see."
How long do you want to continue playing?
"I've got three years remaining on my contract and I definitely want to honor it if I can as far as my health and wanting to play. A lot of stuff was put into perspective for me with my injury this year. This is what I love to do most and I realized it that I still want to play a lot."
You're not worried Lou (Lamoriello) will buy you out?
"No. You never know (laughing)."
What does it mean to do this all with one team?
"There are players that have done it. You look at Joe Sakic. Even though it's two different cities (Quebec and Colorado), it's still the same organization. Steve Yzerman and Ken Daneyko (did it). There's a pride of being on one team and making a commitment to the people that are in the organization that is a family. You want to stay here and you love where you're at. And, for me, there was never a secret about that. I loved being in New Jersey. I love being part of this and the success of the organization and my success at the same time."
Have you ever thought about what it would be like to play for another team?
"You always wonder how a different organization operates and stuff like that, but I think when you have something good, the grass is not greener necessarily on the other side all of the time and I felt my grass was green enough. It was definitely a combination of a lot of things you want in an organization. A lot of good things have happened to me. I've had a lot of success and hopefully there will be success in the future for us as a team. But you always think about these things."
You're going to have family here tomorrow night. Do you have a spot for your dad to get some decent photos?
"That's out of my hands. I'll be there. He'll find a way to take a picture of me. But they're all going to come down (from Montreal). They definitely looking forward to it."
Does it mean a lot to you having your father there for special moments like this one and the Olympics?
"To me, it means a lot. My dad, he's the one who brought me up in professional sport with photography and all of that and I think a lot of the reason of who I am is because of my father. So, for me to live all of these experiences, I know he's probably more excited and more nervious than I am most of the time. He had the chance to play in the Olympics (in 1956), so for him to join me with Team Canada was a great thing and again (Saturday) in Montreal it was great that was able to be there and see that. I think he was really emotional about the way that people made the ovation at the end of the game, so it was pretty cool."
What do you think of what Patrick Elias has done tying John MacLean's team points record?
"Patrik has been one of our key guys. We rewarded him with a big contract a few years back and everybody thought he was going to be the guy and, do you know what? He's not a disappointment. Every year, people are like maybe (he can do more). Do you know what? After so many years, he's on top of the scoring list in New Jersey and he's been a great leader for us. He's been through a lot of things. You look at what happened with his health (hepatitis in 2005) and getting the captaincy taken away. There's a lot of things that happened, but Patrik his game has always been to the top and he always thrives on that. He's a really proud guy and he's the only one (from his line with) Jason Arnott and Petr Sykora that's still here. That was a great line and he was picked for him to be here. That says a lot about what kind of player he is. It was too bad that everything kind of wasn't too noticed because of that game in Montreal, but definitely he deserves everything that he's getting."
Were you children able to see the game on Saturday?
"They saw a little bit of it. Both of them won their tournaments, so they were excited. It was a pretty good weekend for us."
Was this record something you've had your eye on for a while?
"I never looked at chasing any records. I never looked at stuff like this is what I want to do. I just wanted to be the best I could be for my team. Slowly, everything piled up and you get to these numbers. I'm here to win. I'm not for goals against average or save percentage, it's winning a hockey game. We're all in here for that. It was never a goal of mine to do anything that special. I just wanted to play hockey. I just want to have fun. That's the bottom line."
Is this the greatest record a goaltender can have?
"I think so. It's all about winning. I'll say it again. It's not just about the goaltender. It's about the team. As a team, we've spent 15 years with that many games plus more with other guys that chipped in along the way. So, that's a lot of wins."
Did anything surprise you about Saturday night and did anyone interesting try to reach you to congratulate you?
"The standing ovation was a big surprise. Somebody tried to reach me. I didn't get a hold of them, yet -- Celine Dion's agent. He's on vacation. He wanted to call me. They're somewhere and they had a hard time getting a hold of me to congratulate us. So, that was pretty cool. I was asked who was the most popular (French-Canadian) person and I said Celine Dion. Now, they want to get a hold of me, so that was pretty cool."
Were you tired when you got home Saturday night?
"Yesterday I was. When I came back (Saturday night), I was still excited about it, but yesterday I went to bed in the morning and I got up and I was like, 'Wow. That's what it feels like having all the pressure.' You don't feel it when you do it, but everything settled down. So I had a good day of rest and was happy to get back to it today."
Will you feel the same pressure Tuesday?
"The Montreal part, the chaotic part is over now. I know it's now the big game. The next win will be breaking the record and not tying the record, so definitely it's big. It's just another step for me. I'll feel it tomorrow too. Right now, I'm able to relax like I was on Friday. I was pretty relaxed about it. Tomorrow I'll get myself focused and try to take everything out of my head and get myself ready for that game."
How is your arm that was injured?
"It's OK. It's still attached. Everything is good. I've been feeling good. There's no issues with my arm at all."
Did you think that when Elias flipped you the puck after Saturday's game that it was going to go over your head?
"I knew if I was going stretch that far, maybe something was going to happen (to his arm) and rip it. (Laughing).
Was he trying to score on you?
"Probably. He was trying to get that record."
How much money will you have to put on the board in the locker room tomorrow (he said he will have to buy the next couple of meals for the team after Saturday's game)?
"Hopefully, I'm going to try to sneak without putting anything on the board, but we'll see."