As a goaltender and someone who respects all National Hockey League netminders, I feel for what New Jersey Devils’ masked man Martin Brodeur is going through.
There he was, just eight wins away from becoming the league’s all-time winningest goaltender and just like that, he will be out for three to four months with a torn biceps tendon. For a guy that averages close to 75 games a season, I imagine that the next couple of months without playing will feel like a lifetime for Marty.
While there are those that think that this spells doom and gloom for the NHL, I actually think that it could end up being a positive thing for the game. So with that being said, here are five reasons why Brodeur’s injury might just end up being good for the game of hockey:
1) Vezina Trophy Now Up for Grabs
For starters, it will make the Vezina Trophy race (awarded to the league’s top goaltender) interesting since Brodeur has won the prestigious goaltending trophy four times. If he keeps up his solid play, may be the trophy will stay in the Atlantic Division and go Rangers’ all-world goaltender Henrik Lundqvist.
2) Devils Have to Crank Up the Offense
Secondly, it is going to force the Devils to score more goals. When your tandem consists of Kevin Weekes and Scott Clemmensen, your team will definitely allow a few pucks in the net. Now, players such as Patrik Elias, Zach Parise, and Brian Gionta will really have to showcase their offensive talents if the Devils’ want to keep up in their division and remain within the top eight of the Eastern Conference.
3) No More Trap?
Related to my second-point, this may force the Devils to break away from the trap. Yes, many of you out there would probably think that it would cause the team to continue to implement the trap but again, this team is going to need to score goals and you’re not going to score many by playing that way.
4) Kevin Weekes Gets to Strut His Stuff
It’s also nice that goaltender Kevin Weekes will get a chance to show the Devils that he is more than just a serviceable backup. So far, he’s done just that as he’s 1-1 with a 2.32 goals-against average and a .917 save percentage. Remember, this is the same guy that helped lead the Carolina Hurricanes to the Stanley Cup Finals back in 2002.
5) Will Make Fans Take Notice of The Other Top-Notch Netminders in the League
Brodeur’s injury also gives hockey fans to take notice of some of the other top goalies in the NHL such as Evgeni Nabakov, Carey Price, Mike Smith, Niklas Backstrom, Tim Thomas, Ryan Miller and many others.
Have no fear folks. Brodeur’s injury, though obviously painful for Devils’ fans, is not a bad thing for hockey. It opens up some doors, provides some excitement and curiosity, and more importantly for the Devils, it will be a chance to show both the league and its fans what they are made of.
So here’s to three or four months of exciting Devils hockey. Strange, isn’t it?
For more puck talk, e-mail Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org