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SargentD

Brodeur's skated into South Mountain Arena 20 years ago today

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Devils' Martin Brodeur strong after 20 years of excellence in the net even as end nears

By Art Stapleton

The Record

March 25, 2012

NEWARK — Mike Rupp eagerly skated in and scored, just as he did twice the night before while making his National Hockey League debut with the Devils.

This goal did not come against Roberto Luongo and the Florida Panthers, however. This time the net belonged to Martin Brodeur and Rupp received a different sort of message — well, he actually felt it — shortly thereafter.

It was his first shot of a practice that took place eight seasons ago, but Rupp has not forgotten the “Welcome to the League” moment granted to him by one of the game’s greatest players, the goaltender he had just beaten glove side.

“My first NHL game, I got called up on my birthday and I scored two goals in the game, a big highlight for me,” recalled Rupp, who is now with the Rangers. “The next day in practice, one of the first shots I took, I came down the wing and fired one over Marty’s glove. I just put my head down and went into the corner, and I remember getting a puck in the back. And Marty starts yelling, ‘It’s not that easy, kid. It’s not that easy. Don’t think it’s that easy.’ ”

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Edited by 95Crash

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“His first day in practice we jokingly called him ‘The Future’ because he was,” former Devils teammate Claude Vilgrain said. “He came in with confidence and a smile, and even back then you just knew he was special.”

Haha that wasn't someone I expected a quote from!

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This is an attitude rarely seen in the modern sports landscape.

“Even though I’ll leave the game of hockey, I don’t know if I’ll leave the Devils, ever.”

This is why Martin will ALWAYS be number one in my book.

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Haha that wasn't someone I expected a quote from!

Who said this... yep, you guessed it!

gallery_186_14_2374.jpg

The Haitian Sensation! Claude Vilgrain!

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And who would have thought then that he would go on to become the most beloved and hated, and then beloved again, and then hated, and then beloved sometimes when he's winning, but then REALLY hated when he's losing, then washed up, then not so washed up, but still beloved, and then very washed up again, and thus hated, but then still beloved when he keeps a low GAA, but hated when the back up goalie wins some games, and then......

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