When Martin Brodeur suffered his first significant injury of his career in November, hockey analysts said if the New Jersey Devils can keep themselves within 6th through 8th place in the Eastern Conference before Brodeur returns after 4 months, the team will be in great shape. Right now, the Devils have overachieved expectations and are first place in the Atlantic division and holding onto the 3rd seed.
Brodeur will bring his hall of fame experience, world class confidence, and veteran leadership back to the lineup. The Devils have gotten better as a team since he last played and their well balanced offensive attack will put pressure on their opponents. And Brodeur will dominate.
It's not like Brodeur has been away from the game for years and he has lost a step. He came back fine after the extended NHL lockout and posted a 43 win season. And before his injury, he had a fast start to the season and was on pace for a banner year. Brodeur's presence alone will make this team a serious Stanley Cup contender and he has all the motivation to succeed. Remember, he is well rested for the stretch run for the first time since 1995.
The next three games (COL, FLA, PHI)
As Scott Clemmensen was sent down to Lowell, all eyes are on Brodeur to see how well he reacts to high level competition. Will Lou Lamoriello trade away his contingency plan (Clemmensen) on March 4th? These three games may determine if he is expendable but at least Clemmensen will be able to keep himself in game shape for the time being.
For all GMs reading this blog, let me tell you. Scott Clemmensen is a true professional and takes nothing for granted. His loyalty to the Devils organization proves he is a man of character. The whole hockey world knows now what he is capable of and he is a solid number one goaltender.
On a personal level, I had the honor to meet Clemmensen in training camp when he was a rookie. As players were filing out of South Mountain arena (that's what it was called back then), my little sister, 9 years old at the time, got to meet all of the players. The one goalie she raved about: #40 Scott Clemmensen.
He spent the most time out of all of the players that day signing autographs, taking photographs, and made such an impression on my sister that she liked him the most. Scott Clemmensen maybe in Lowell right now, but will always be a true new Jersey Devil.
50 cent a Devils fan? (Sent to me by Intern Andrew)