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16 May 2006 - 07:32 PM

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Marty Still in the Prime of His Career

04 May 2006 - 03:26 PM


Brodeur, 34 on Saturday, still in his prime

Canadian Press

5/4/2006 3:15:47 PM

Marty Brodeur has never been more physically fit.

He has to be because the strict enforcement of the rules in the new NHL is sending skaters in on goaltenders in waves.

It's a shooting gallery and goalies had better not be sitting ducks.

"Puck control is a lot greater than it used to be," the New Jersey Devils' all-world netminder said Thursday on a conference call.

"Physically, it's a lot more demanding to play the game than before for a goalie. Your stamina level has to be at a level you didn't really need before."

Brodeur turns 34 Saturday when the Devils open the second round of the playoffs against the Carolina Hurricanes in Raleigh, N.C. (TSN, 2 p.m. ET).

In the first round, Brodeur allowed only four goals and had a fantastic .965 save percentage in a sweep of the New York Rangers.

A key to survival - and the Devils have found it in winning 15 consecutive games - is to limit the number of opposition power plays, Brodeur said, because playing short-handed tires you out.

Young goalies such as Carolina's Cam Ward and Anaheim's Ilja Bryzgalov stepped off the end of their team's benches to play big roles in the first round and that doesn't surprise Brodeur.

"It think it's part of the new NHL," he said. "Times are changing.

"Experience is overplayed a little bit. You'll see the experience starting now and going forward. It's something that gets a little more important" as the playoffs roll along.

Brodeur is a finalist for the Vezina Trophy. He won it in 2003 and 2004.

He didn't think he'd be in the running after a slow start to his season, which mirrored the team's malaise in the early going, but the Devils are a different team now.

Patrik Elias recovered from hepatitis and GM Lou Lamoriello stepped behind the bench and began changing lineups and strategies and the Devils took off.

"He put this team together and believed in it," Brodeur said. "When he put the team he wanted on the ice, then Patrik came back healthy, it was a combination of us believing we were able to play a good defensive hockey game in the new NHL.

"We had our doubts. We didn't believe the first part of the season we could do that. When we started getting results, and Lou took over in early January, we began to believe we could do that."

Good goaltending and defence and speedy forwards creating scoring chances give New Jersey a winning balance. But does it feel to Brodeur anything like the championship teams of 1995, 2000 and 2003?

"A little bit," he says. "We have a lot of confidence in what we're able to accomplish out there.

"It's similar to the clockwork games we played over and over in my career."

Lamoriello's approach is straightforward: check, check some more, and pounce on turnovers or convert power-play chances.

"You can see a lot of the same happening right now," Brodeur said in recalling his Stanley Cup-winning teams. "We don't shoot ourselves in the feet. We're disciplined."

Stamina-wise, they're primed for a long run, too.

The Old Devil

02 May 2006 - 01:57 PM


Playoff hockey is a rite of spring for New Jersey Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur, and because the Devils make their players stay in hotels during the postseason even when playing at home, so are meals with his teammates. "You see the guys at breakfast, lunch, dinner," Brodeur says. "They become your family. But you also want to see your kids, so you just want to finish the series quickly." Brodeur did his part last Saturday, helping New Jersey complete a four-game sweep of the New York Rangers with a 4-2 win in Madison Square Garden. He has now backstopped the Devils to 15 straight victories dating back to March 28, and there is no doubt that he is the most feared goalie in the playoffs. "His net gets smaller when the games get bigger," says Rangers forward Jaromir Jagr. ... To get immediate access to this complete story you must be a SPORTS ILLUSTRATED magazine subscriber. If you are not currently a subscriber, see below for a special offer.

They give you the first part but apparently if you're not a subscriber, you can't finish reading the article unless you sign up. Does anyone have access and is willing to the post whole article?