Goalie will make ultimate call, with help from Hitchcock, Corsi
ST. LOUIS -- Martin Brodeur wouldn't have given the Blues -- or anyone else -- a second thought if he felt like he couldn't still make the cut.
The future Hall of Fame goalie, who spent his entire career (21 seasons) with the New Jersey Devils, feels like he still has game in his blades. So instead of hanging them up, the chance to sharpen those skates a few more times and prep the pads are worth more than calling it a career.
Brodeur, 42, who took the ice Friday with the Blues on a tryout basis hoping to land a contract and help a team while injured Brian Elliott (lower body) is out week to week, has remained active through the first couple months of the season while waiting for a chance to land with an NHL team.
|(St. Louis Blues photo)|
Patrik Berglund (left) fires a shot Friday on goalie Martin Brodeur.
"As much as I could," Brodeur said Friday morning. "It's like anything, it's hard. I was ready to go for training camp. I worked out exactly the way I needed to be ready to go and I didn't get a job. Now it's been 2 1/2 months since then. ... For me, I was able to play hockey a little bit, get some skates in, get some good workouts in. For sure, not the level of the players because it's almost impossible as a non-active player to have that kind of lifestyle but I tried to do as much as possible between week to week.
"I skated a little bit before training camp to get ready. After that, I took a couple weeks off. I skated for about two weeks. Took a couple weeks off the ice skating-wise. It just happened that the team in New Jersey was on the road in Western Canada for about 10 days and I skated every day with Gomer (Scott Gomez) and other guys out there. I've been on the ice, but this is kind of a different level."
"I think it's the conditioning part of it is one, but it's the feeling," Brodeur added. "The feeling with the guys to see how it goes and everything. I'm not coming in and expecting to play 20 games in a row right away. I'll be able to maybe get a start here and there and get going throughout practice. It's only hockey. I can't worry about it too much."
And that's why the Blues took a chance on Brodeur while Elliott recovers, and give 24-year-old Jake Allen some stable support.
"I think he said it best: he wants it to end on his court, on his note so he's going to do that," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said of Brodeur. "He looks in tremendous shape. He's worked awfully hard in that part of it. This is going to end up being his call because it's going to be his standard that he's going to have to meet. He can meet the standards of the National Hockey League tomorrow, but it's going to be his standards that he's going to have to meet and he's going to be the one determining that."
The Blues will take a look at Brodeur for the next few days, with a decision likely to come within the next week, probably before the Blues depart for a three-game trip to Chicago on Tuesday.
"We'll get a really good understanding where he is probably by Tuesday afternoon," Blues general manager Doug Armstrong said of Brodeur. "... He wants to play, and he's kept himself in good conditioning. He's been skating in New Jersey. We were a team that he reached out to. I talked to (agent Pat Brisson) early in the season, and we're real comfortable with Jake and Brian, but we don't have experienced depth in our organization. Any short-term injury, a game or two, I think I'd be very comfortable with (Jordan) Binnington. Binnington might be the guy in a week; I'm not sure, but when we saw it was going to be an extended period of time, we went this way. Marty still has a desire to compete. His resume speaks for itself, so it seemed like a very easy solution for us to take a look at."
Brodeur has an open mind.
"It's not like I'm gonna get in the nets and play 10 games in a row," Brodeur said. "It's going to be quick. I think if I'm able to get some good, quality time.
"Today was a really good day and hopefully the next few days will be as good. After that, we'll have to make a decision. The team is going to go on the road for a little while there and we'll see where we're at. I'm not here to change anything (regarding) the plans of the Blues. I'm here to help out. If it means signing me and keeping me around for a while, that'll be great. But if not, I know Brian Elliott and Jake Allen's been doing a great job. I'm not here to stir anything what's going on here. They're having a great season so far."
And if Elliott comes back sooner than thought, and Brodeur is still here, Armstrong said they'll deal with it.
"That's a high-class problem," Armstrong joked. "We'll assess that when we get to that point. Right now we're worried about getting a look at Marty and getting him into a situation to see if he still wants to play after practicing for a week with an NHL team and monitor that. I'm not going to try and rub the crystal ball and see where we'll be weeks ahead. I'm just trying to get competent players so we can go on this road trip."
|(St. Louis Blues photo)|
Martin Brodeur takes a break from practice Friday morning.
Goalie coach Jim Corsi and Hitchcock will be all over this call, but the decision will ultimately come down to whether Brodeur can do this or not.
"Well I had Eddie (Belfour), so I know what to look for," Hitchcock said, referring to his time with Belfour in Dallas. "I'm pretty experienced at this, so between Jim and I, we'll work it out."
"'Father Time' will catch up to everybody at some point," Armstrong said. "Marty doesn't believe it's caught up to him yet. I just think he was the No. 1 guy that would want to come in here, that we would want to talk to."