NEWARK – New Jersey Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur was inside Prudential Center on Sunday for professional and personal reasons. Professionally, the 41-year old was doing press availability after beating out Sergei Bobrovsky of the Columbus Blue Jackets in the EA Sports NHL 14 cover vote. Personally, Brodeur’s 18-year old son, Anthony, was draft eligible, hoping a team would call his name.
A team, well, his dad, ended up being the one calling his name as the Devils selected the younger Brodeur 208th overall.
After meeting the media earlier in the day, Brodeur transitioned from NHL goalie to nervous hockey dad. Did he ever imagine he’s still be playing on the day when one of his kids was in the NHL Draft? “No. That’s for sure,” he said. “It’s pretty amazing.”
Brodeur is entering the final season of a two-year deal. Could he stick around long enough to eventually face off against his son?
“I’ve got one more year, so if he hurries up…”
We spoke with Brodeur before Sunday's Draft about anti-goalie bias in hockey videogames, Rangers and Flyers fans protesting his presence on the NHL 14 cover and building a champion in the salary cap era.
Q. You’re only the second goalie to be on the cover of an NHL game, joining John Vanbiesbrouck. Is there an anti-goalie bias in the hockey videogame world?
BRODEUR: “I think people want to score goals in the video game. But you know what, I think the last few years there was a big push for goalies. You look at Pekka Rinne losing to Giroux last year in the finals. This year two goalies in the finals. We’re getting back on the map here a little bit."
Do you play videogames? Did you play when you were younger?
“I played when I was younger, then it got complicated with the buttons. My kids play these games all the time.”
Are they as excited, if not more, about you being on the cover?
“I am excited, but I think these guys, they’re playing the game with their buddies in their dorm or their billet homes... It’s kind of nice to grab the game and your dad’s on the cover.”
Did you have a favorite arcade game growing up?
“I always played Donkey Kong. When I started playing with the console at home it was more like Atari, Intellivision.”
Do you think game sales will take a hit in the Northeast seeing as how some Rangers and Flyers fans might protest your being on the cover?
“That’s too bad for them… [Laugh] because it’s a great game. It’s a great area for hockey and to have one of our three jerseys on the cover hopefully that’s going to help bring awareness to our sport. That’s important.”
Have you thought about beyond next season yet?
“I’m looking at just this year. I’m not putting an 'X' on anything else. I’m just taking it year-by-year, see how the body feels in the spirit of the game. I’m really enjoying what I’m doing. I’m enjoying hanging out with the younger guys, seeing them grow into NHL players and professionals. That I take a lot of pride in, trying to help these guys. That’s a fun thing for me. When you have that passion, why not if they still want you?"
You’ve play in two lockout-shortened seasons. Was the grind the same this year like it was in 1995?
“Yeah, it was difficult. When the injury bug hits you you’re season goes away almost. I believe our team was good enough to be in the playoffs this year, and just because of the injures we had at different times it made it really hard on us to gain some ground back. It was a difficult season. With Chicago and Boston, they must be exhausted because it’s not a two-month playoff, it’s a four-month playoff this year.”
Have you reached out David Clarkson about re-signing?
“I’m trying to convince him. He’s in Toronto. He’s hanging, waiting it out. He really wants to stay in New Jersey. It’s just a matter of time that they’ll get together and talk numbers. I know he wants to stay for a long period of time. Hopefully they’ll be able to do it because he’s an important guy. He’s a different type of player. You don’t see that every day the way he plays the game. He’s got a lot of value.”
Having played with and without a salary cap, is there a blueprint for success for how a team needs to be constructed?
“Yes and no. You have teams that do it a little differently; but as of late, you look at what Chicago did: they made a big push to win a Stanley Cup and then had to re-focus for one year and now for two years they’ve been able to win it again. And for Boston, it’s similar. Now you see they might trade some young guys and might lose some guys in free agency. It’s a 3-4 year thing in the NHL. You’ve just got to turn it around. If you’re about to play on top of the cap and you draft well and make trades well… these two teams [Chicago and Boston], you’ve got to look at them closely because it’s pretty rare in this day and age that you see two teams dominating so much in four years.”
Follow Sean Leahy on Twitter at @Sean_Leahy
Related coverage on Yahoo! Sports:
• Glendale ready to act on Coyotes lease proposal
• Sergei Bobrovsky's two-year deal another win for Jackets
• Jets' Tobias Enstrom attacked, robbed in Sweden