After notching his 500th win two weeks ago, Martin Brodeur reached another milestone Friday night in a 4-0 win over the Montreal Canadiens.
With his 116th career shutout, Brodeur passed Terry Sawchuk to become the NHL's all-time shutout king.
Well, sort of.
The shutout record is unofficial, and controversial to boot.
Sawchuk notched 103 career regular-season shutouts and added 12 more in the playoffs—for a total of 115. Brodeur's shutout on Friday was his 94th in the regular season. Add the 22 goose-eggs he's posted in the playoffs and you get a total of 116.
So should that qualify as a record?
Comparing regular-season and playoff shutouts is like comparing, well, Terry Sawchuk and Martin Brodeur. You can argue until you're blue in the face for either party...and nothing's going to get resolved.
I'm reminded of the controversy that emerged around Gordie Howe's combined NHL and WHA goals record when Wayne Gretzky surpassed Mr. Hockey's NHL mark. That debate didn't end until Gretzky's NHL total surpassed Howe's combined total.
Such will probably be the case in the Brodeur-Sawchuk dispute.
As it stands, Brodeur is just 10 shutouts away from the definitive record. Until then, most hockey purists—myself included—won't be completely satisfied.
94 shutouts is nothing to sneeze at. But Sawchuk's mark has stood for 37 years—and it will likely stand for at least another season or two.