Upon retirement, Martin Brodeur hints he wants GM job
Martin Brodeur addresses the media to announce his retirement during a press conference Thursday at Scottrade Center in St. Louis. (Scott Kane/USA TODAY Sports)
Saying he is retiring “with a smile on my face,” is future Hall of Famer Martin Brodeur destined to go from stopping more pucks than anyone in NHL history to running his own team one day?
Is that the transition Brodeur hopes to make after hanging up his mask?
Judging from Brodeur’s comments on the day he officially retired, a future in as an NHL general manager certainly seems to be on his wish list.
“I’m going to enjoy my retirement,” Brodeur told reporters Thursday in St. Louis after being named special advisor to Blues GM Doug Armstrong. “I want to see if eventually could put a team together. A lot of players are doing it.
“I might like to try general managing one day.”
If it plays out that way, where will it be? New Jersey?
Indeed, there is no shortage of questions surrounding Brodeur and his decision to take a front office job with the Blues rather than retire as a New Jersey Devil, where he accrued most of his NHL-record 691 victories and 125 shutouts.
Strange optics, to be sure.
“A little bit,” Brodeur agreed. “My hockey career has been about New Jersey. It’s never going to go away. It’s kind of weird for people but I’m ok with it.”
Addressing the suggestion there might be a rift with Devils GM Lou Lamoriello, Brodeur rejected the notion.
“For anyone that thinks Lou (Lamoriello) and I are not on the same page, that’s wrong,” Brodeur said.
For his part, Lamoriello envisions Brodeur returning to the Devils organization one day and has said the door is always open.
But when those comments were brought to Brodeur’s attention, he replied: “I’ll make that decision when it’s time.”
Not exactly oozing with enthusiasm, is he?
Maybe Brodeur feels insulted that the Devils acquired Cory Schneider via trade at the 2013 NHL draft to come in as his heir apparent.
Maybe he figures he deserved a significant contract offer from New Jersey when he became a free agent last summer, an expectation that never came to fruition.
Maybe with Lamoriello exerting so much control over every aspect of the Devils organization, Brodeur didn’t see much room for growth and advancement for himself from the management side.
Or maybe, just maybe, we should just believe Brodeur when he claims the Blues are the perfect fit right now, adding that what happens down the road -- including with New Jersey -- remains undetermined.
“I had a blast for the month I was here (in St. Louis) ... they really took me in as part of their family,” said Brodeur, who went on to explain what his duties will be as part of the St, Louis management team.
“What they’re asking me to do is being a liaison between the general manager and the coaching staff (as well as a link between) the coaching staff and the players,” he said. “With Lou, I saw the way it went a certain way and now I get to see it done with a different (organization).”
If there are, in fact, ruffled feathers between Brodeur and the Devils, only time will tell if the real story emerges.
And perhaps there isn’t a story here in the first place -- although that option will be tough to digest for the conspiracy theory faithful out there who prescribe to the notion that “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.”
Whatever the case, Brodeur insists this will not be a Brett Favre-type retirement, a format where you hang ‘em up, then come back, then hang ‘em up, then come back, then hang ‘em up, then ...
Asked if he would consider stepping back between the pipes again in the event either of the Blues goaltenders, Brian Elliott and Jake Allen, went down with an injury, Brodeur quickly replied: “No, I don’t think so.”
Brodeur leaves behind a legacy that saw him set NHL records for shutouts (125) and wins (691), two marks that will likely never be surpassed. The one goal he didn’t reach: 700 victories.
“Well, 691 isn’t too bad … It’s those lockouts that killed me,” he chuckled.
What “killed” many Devils fans on Thursday -- at least on an emotional level -- was seeing the face of their favourite team retire as something else other than a New Jersey Devil. That sight will be difficult to digest for a long time.
But take solace in this: Martin Brodeur is doing what he wants to do. And that’s his right, no matter what the critics might suggest.
On Dec. 29, Brodeur registered the final shutout of his career, a 3-0 Blues victory over the Colorado Avalanche.
Standing behind the Avs bench watching firsthand was coach Patrick Roy, Brodeur’s long-time rival and the man most often mentioned with Brodeur as the greatest goalies ever (although names like Hasek, Dryden, Plante, Sawchuk and friends will always come up).
A nice exclamation point on a Hall of Fame career.
“I leave with a smile on my face,” Brodeur repeated. “A year ago, I’m not so sure I could have said that.”
On Thursday, he did say it.
It just seemed, to use one of his own words, “weird,” to see him do it as anything other than a Devil.
Is Martin Brodeur the greatest goalie in NHL history?
Yes. No doubt about it.
No. Not the best ever.