He’s 42 years old, a 1990 draft choice of the New Jersey Devils. He played four games for the Devils in 1992, after his junior season in St. Hyacinthe, PQ was over, and after a year with their minor league affiliate in Utica, he became the starting goaltender for New Jersey for the next twenty seasons. His name is Martin Brodeur, and he is a legendary, soon-to-be Hall of Fame, goaltender that has amassed three Stanley Cup rings, and owns a host of NHL records that may never be broken. His entire career has been spent wearing the red/white/black of the team from New Jersey… until this week. Martin Brodeur signed a contract with the St. Louis Blues Tuesday, and will be in uniform, if not between the pipes, when the Blues visit Nashville for Thursday’s game with the Predators.
An injury to St. Louis’ starting netminder Brian Elliott left the team with young Jake Allen in the lead role, and a fairly unknown backup named Jordan Binnington who has just eleven games of experience at the American Hockey League level. The Blues, fighting for the top spot in the Central Division with the current frontrunners from Nashville, could ill afford to trust their goaltending to two youngsters, so the call was made, the tryout accepted, and in comes the veteran with the gaudiest goaltending resume on the planet. Pro sports fans in general, and hockey fans in particular will consider this truly monumental, as only a handful of players with 20 year careers have switched teams so late in their lives (see: Ray Bourque: Colorado.)
While St. Louis will be in Chicago for a Wednesday night game, which will mark the first appearance of Brodeur in a Blues uniform, the back-to-back scenario sets the potential stage for a Rinne vs. Brodeur battle the following night at Bridgestone.
The Predators, who once again continue to impress with some exciting home wins last week against both Edmonton and Columbus, played in Raleigh, NC last night, and dropped a tough 2-1 decision to Carolina’s Hurricanes. The Preds played well, and trailed just 1-0 heading into the final stanza, but an early third period goal by Victor Rask proved to be the decisive marker, offsetting a late Mike Ribiero goal that brought the team back to within one. Unfortunately, Nashville was unable to tie things up, and headed home without a point for just the sixth time in the first 24 games of the season.
After Thursday’s affair with the Blues, the rival Chicago Blackhawks will be at Bridgestone on Saturday for a 6PM start. The Hawks have played well this year and always find themselves within striking distance of the top of the tough Central Division. Led by superstar forwards Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, and perennial Norris candidate Duncan Keith, the Blackhawks always supply extra incentive for the team and the fans in Bridgestone, and the house should be jumpin’… and DON’T FORGET the 6pm start!
Both Thursday and Saturday’s games will also feature the Preds involvement in the Toys for Tots charity. Fans are asked to consider bringing a new, unwrapped toy to the arena and help make a needy child’s holiday even brighter!
Final note: Big congratulations to Preds goaltender Pekka Rinne, voted the NHL’s No. 3 star of the week, and Preds rookie sensation Filip Forsberg, named NHL Rookie of the Month for November. Rinne and Forsberg are both certainly on track for big prizes at season’s end, including the Vezina (Best Goaltender) and Calder (Best Rookie) trophies.
Come on down to Bridgestone Arena and catch Preds fever! The team is turning up the heat!