Martin Brodeur's new life

ByKatie Strang ESPN logo
Thursday, April 2, 2015

It's been almost two months since goaltender Martin Brodeur retired from the NHL. What has life been like for the all-time wins leader? Brodeur talks about learning on the fly, his future plans and more in a conversation with

KATIE STRANG: Where are you at right now with how things are going post-retirement?

MARTIN BRODEUR: This is pretty new to me, coming off retirement [and] just jumping into somewhat of a management role, just kind of shadowing a little bit our GM [Doug Armstrong] and learning the ins and outs of the management part of the game. As a player, there are lots of things you don't see. You prepare and you play hockey and you go home. When we went through the [trade] deadline [as a management team], it was interesting. Again, I touch on as much [as possible]. I'm with the coaches a lot. ... I have some input with the goalie coach [Jim Corsi]. We talk about getting ourselves ready for the playoffs. I pick their brain, they pick my brain, so it's pretty simple. Not too much responsibility, too much pressure. It's like perfect. You can still be a fan and be close to the game, you know?

STRANG: Anything about the management side of the game that has surprised you?

BRODEUR: How much there is to do. You look at one guy and you're like, well, it's not that bad but you go through this and that, but when you're dealing with injuries, personalities, minor leagues, call-ups, this and that, there's so much involved. And again, it's one thing you always think, "Oh, it's going to be easy to do," but you have to know a lot of stuff. It's interesting to me, you know. You get to a different organization. I grew up in a different organization [the New Jersey Devils] and seeing [Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello] do everything by himself, it's like you almost have more respect now that he's able to do all that himself. In St. Louis, we have people around [Armstrong]. Dougie works really, really hard. Sometimes you don't see him and he just shows up for the game, but he's been working all day. It's interesting, but the work you have to put in for that position -- especially for that position, some positions are a little different -- that's probably what surprised me the most, how much there is involved and [it's] not just watching a hockey game you know?

STRANG: Having that exposure, has it given you an idea of whether this is something you'd like to do?

BRODEUR: Like I said, this has been good -- a big learning curve for me. I'm taking it real slow and I have a lot of things to learn. St. Louis has given me a great opportunity to learn that part along the way and I get to meet a lot of people too, not as hockey player but as part of management. It's kind of nice. You can kind of plant the seed with that, you know, make a connection with people that I've never really had before, but for what I want to do, I'm not sure. I'm happy with what I'm doing right now. Sitting outside is probably the best thing for me right now and not getting involved too much because I need that experience.

STRANG: As playoffs draw near, do you find yourself getting the itch to play?

BRODEUR: You know what? Not really. I'm surprised. I thought it would be a lot harder. I sat out eight months and then I came back for a month and a half; I was ready to call it quits. These guys were good. Competitive-wise you'll always have it, but you find it in different ways. You get to care about the people you put on the ice. The team these guys are building, I played with these guys a couple months ago so I know what they're going through, the goals they want to achieve. It's just fun to be part of it. As a hockey player, probably the hardest part is staying away from the team. You're so used to it for 20 years, I have somewhere to go, and now, for that eight months, what am I going to do today? For me now it's, "All right, I'm going to work." Even though I'm not playing hockey, I feel like I'm still part of it, you know?

STRANG: How do you feel about the Blues' goaltending heading into the playoffs?

BRODEUR: With [goaltender Brian Elliott's] injury, when I came in, I think it put a little setback as far as the game [being] played and everything. Now, he's playing a lot more. I don't know who's going to be the guy at the end of the day, but Ells definitely has been playing really, really well. We have two different types of goalies. One [Jake Allen] that's really active and you see that [Sunday] the way he goes out and plays the puck -- he's a younger guy that needs some experience -- and we've got a guy that's been around and finally seems like he's going to get his shot at it. For years it was [former Blues netminder Jaroslav Halak], it was Ryan Miller. It was always somebody. When you look at his stats, he should be considered one of the top goalies in the league, but there's always that effect when you play on good defensive teams: People don't give you the credit you deserve, but they're hard to play some of these games. They're doing a good job, these guys. We have a good team. We have to make sure we play well enough to support what we're doing.

STRANG: Any thoughts on the potential rule changes to come out of last week's GMs meetings? Particularly the coach's challenge with respect to goaltender interference?

BRODEUR: I don't think it should cost you anything to be right or wrong. For me, if there's any doubt, the referee should be able to go and review [the play]. For years, we've seen in the playoffs with interference that has happened -- and I don't blame the referees, it's hard to tell -- but there's four of them. If anybody has a doubt, take the time to make it right. We're all playing for the same thing, just to have a fair game out there. There are teams out there that you could lose a playoff [series] or win a Stanley Cup or regardless of what that [reason] is, the challenge is great, but you lose a timeout and maybe that's going to provide more offense eventually down the road in the game. Maybe you don't want to lose that timeout [so you can] to rest guys or set up a play or whatever, but because you had to challenge something in the first period, you're losing your timeout. I don't know. I think it's important to make it right. We have the technology and we have enough people watching the game. We're able to make decisions pretty quickly. If you have any doubts, the referee should just be able to do it on his own, you know?

STRANG: Have you talked to Lou much recently?

BRODEUR: Not really. I talked to him earlier when I decided to retire, but since I've been in St. Louis, I saw him for like three minutes for that [1995] reunion there, but they had a game so we didn't really see much.

STRANG: Would that be something you were open to, returning to that organization?

BRODEUR: Yeah, you know, I'm not -- I'm here and I have the opportunity to do something really nice for my future here and I took it, but at the end of the day my home is in New Jersey. I played all my life in New Jersey and that organization I care a lot about. The timing of it is in the unknown. It might be later on. It might be right away. I'm doing this for this year and I'll sit down with probably St. Louis and New Jersey [afterward] and see where everybody is at and then where I'm at. Maybe I'm just like, "Let me take a whole year off." I don't know what it's going to be. Like I said, I'm enjoying right now and learning a lot, but I don't put any thought into me going somewhere right away. It might happen. ... We'll see what the summer brings. It could be anything.