One of these day the Capitals will sit down for a video session game planning against the New Jersey Devils and Martin Brodeur will not be part of the discussion.
Just not today.
At 39, Brodeur is in the final year of a contract that pays him 5.2 million. Hes played more games (1,137) and has played more miinutes (66,896) than any goalie in the history of the NHL.
But its hard to find anyone who thinks hes ready for a rocking chair.
Hes got a lot of mileage, said Capitals right wing Mike Knuble, who is also 39 and has played in 981 NHL games. Hes been playing the game at such a high level for such a long time.
The human body, especially goaltenders, can only take so much. I remember playing for coaches who were so psyched out by him they structured a whole game plan around keeping the puck away from him. Theyd psyche their own teams out.
In 57 career appearances against the Capitals, Brodeur is 36-16-4 with a 2.28 GAA and .908 save percentage. Heading into tonights game he is 2-2-0 with a 3.00 GAA and .885 save percentage.
Oh, Im sure well be seeing him, Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau said. We game plan against every goalie, whether its puckhandling or where goals beat him. In his case, it might be where goals dont beat him.
The Capitals are expected to counter with Michal Neuvirth tonight. Neuvirth is 4-0-0 with a 1.00 GAA and .970 save percentage.
Caps goalie Tomas Vokoun, 35, said its hard for him to fathom any goalie piling up the games and minutes that Brodeur has logged in his 19-year career.
Ive played a lot of games (642) and hes played twice as many as I have, Vokoun said.
Hes played over 1,000 games. Thats unbelievable. It says a lot about his durability and his skill. What a career.
Vokoun isnt sure when Brodeur will finally call it a career but says no one is better making that decision than Brodeur himself.
For us its not an easy transition, Vokoun said. I think 99 percent of guys have trouble when theyre done playing. What am I going to do? I did this all my life.
Even if you play until youre 40 years old youre still a pretty young person when you retire. Thats why I think guys know theyre going to miss it and thats why they keep playing. I think as long as youre healthy and you feel you can still do it, why not play?