Martin Brodeur has decided to give the start to Johan Hedberg in Saturday’s season finale against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.
The Devils, who were knocked out of the playoffs by the Rangers last Sunday, have nothing to play for. Brodeur does not feel the need to start the game without a reason to play in it.
Tom Gulitti from northjersey.com’s Fire & Ice Blog reports:
“If it meant something, I was going to play, but it doesn’t,” Brodeur said. “Getting booed for two hours for no reason, I don’t know if I was really up to it. If it meant something, I didn’t mind.”
Unusual for Brodeur, who has not missed a game at the Garden while being healthy since Dec. 5, 1993. Two days before I was born, it has been a long time.
Current Devils goaltending coach, Chris Terreri, got the start that night, the Devils lost 2-1. Mike Richter was in net for the Rangers.
Brodeur has started 16-straight games prior to Thursday night when Hedberg beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-2. The 39-year-old Swedish goaltender stopped 16 out of 18 shots in that game, one of which barely crossed the line.
However, the Rangers still have something to play for. If the Rangers win, they have a chance at being the sixth seed, if they lose they stay the eighth. But, either way they are still in the playoffs and the Devils have no role as spoiler.
The Hudson River Rivalry is nothing special without Brodeur in net. It will certainly aggravate fans in attendance who love to try to get in the head of Brodeur, but that does not matter.
Brodeur will not get between the pipes until next September in what will most likely be the last year of his Hall of Fame career.
It is relieving knowing that Brodeur is returning next year. After the Stanley Cup Final loss last season, it was not 100 percent that Brodeur would return. Devils fans get to put off that sad, dreaded last game of Brodeur’s playing career.