It was announced Wednesday that New Jersey Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur will miss the next seven to 10 days with an unspecified shoulder injury.
When any team’s starting goalie goes down with an injury during the early days of the season, it is cause for immediate concern, but it may just be a blessing in disguise for a Devils squad that is off to blazing start when compared to last year’s debacle.
One clear ramification of Brodeur’s extended absence will be the appointment Johan Hedberg as the Devils’ interim starting goalie.
Devils fans can rest easy knowing that their crease will be guarded by a more than adequate veteran who has posted a 3-0-0 record, in addition to a 1.41 goals-against average and .945 save percentage in his three starts this season.
Needless to say, the Devils faithful should feel comfortable turning the starting reigns over to the very capable hands of Hedberg in the stead of the battered Brodeur.
The other point that deserves recognition by Devils fans is that this injury, which sounds relatively minor, will give Brodeur some much-needed rest. He is not getting any younger, that’s a fact, and at the age of 39, it may not be the worst thing for Marty to get some rest early in the year.
A common theme over the past few years, including and especially the three consecutive first-round playoff exits between 2008 and 2010, is Brodeur exhaustion by the season’s end. He simply cannot bear the load of 60-70 starts in a season, an amount that most goalies, even in their prime, are not expected to handle.
Should the Devils qualify for the postseason merengue, The Devils as well as Brodeur know that he will need to be well-rested and primed for a grueling playoff marathon if the Devils are to make any noise at all next spring.
Take your time Marty and get healthy. The Devils have a solid backup netminder in Hedberg, who is more than capable of holding down the fort until Brodeur returns to action. Brodeur will be glad when winter turns to spring and the Devils are fighting for their playoff lives on a game-by-game basis that he had this chance to rest now, in October.
This team will ultimately rise and fall with the play of Brodeur, and knowing that he is the greatest goaltender of all time, I have complete confidence in him. However, in order for him to lead this squad to success and playoff glory, Brodeur will need to be at his best.
So, I for one am cordially inviting Marty to take as much time as he needs to get his body back to 100 percent. The Devils will need his magic come spring.