Brodeur takes leave of absence from Blues; contemplates future
St. Louis Blues goaltender Martin Brodeur watches the action in the second period against the Colorado Avalanche at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis on December 29, 2014. St. Louis defeated Colorado 3-0. UPI/Bill Greenblatt By BILL GREENBLATT
St. Louis Blues goaltender Martin Brodeur makes a glove save against the Colorado Avalanche in the third period at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis on December 29, 2014. St. Louis defeated Colorado 3-0. UPI/Bill Greenblatt By BILL GREENBLATT
St. Louis Blues goaltender Martin Brodeur stretches before the start of the third period against the Florida Panthers at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis on December 8, 2014. UPI/Bill Greenblatt By BILL GREENBLATT
(HockeyStL) - Martin Brodeur’s future was already an interesting topic of conversation, but it became even more so on Wednesday when the Blues announced that the goaltender was taking a week-long leave of absence from the team.
Brodeur, 42, was not on the ice with teammates for the club’s optional skate Wednesday morning, a strange occurrence as goaltenders usually participate in all skates. Head coach Ken Hitchcock said Brodeur opted for an off-ice workout.
Brodeur is expected depart for his home for a week to ponder his future both with the Blues and with the sport. The future Hall of Famer was granted permission for the leave from general manager Doug Armstrong.
When he returns to the team, Brodeur’s future will be discussed.
As the NHL’s all-time winningest goaltender, Brodeur joined the Blues in early December on a one-year, $700,000 contract. The signing came to provide back-up to rookie Jake Allen after Brian Elliott was diagnosed with a lengthy knee injury. When he was signed, Brodeur had gone eight months without appearing in a game.
Brodeur’s deal included incentives, including a $10,000 bonus for every point the team earned while he was in net. The deal also included roster bonuses that were to be awarded at various points of the season if Brodeur remained with the club. The first bonus was coming due on Feb. 1.
With the Blues, Brodeur has posted a 3-3-0 record, including one shutout. The veteran goaltender has played in just one game since Elliott returned from injury. It has been 12 days since his last start.
Last week, Hitchcock said that having three goaltenders on the roster wasn’t a bother, but it was known that eventually it would become a complicated situation.
“For us, if it doesn’t bother the goalies, it shouldn’t bother us,” Hitchcock said. “You don’t need two extra forwards or two extra defensemen; you need one extra at each position. It doesn’t bother us as long as it doesn’t bother the goalies.”
Brodeur has been a valuable asset for the Blues, especially in the locker room.
“There is a lot that Marty brings to this team,” said Hitchcock. “There’s a lot. It’s a really revealing situation when you bring in players with winning pedigrees and the way they look at the competition, the way they look at the game, the way they look at improvement, on adjustments. It’s really refreshing to bring in people with that kind of pedigree.”
It is believed to be likely that the Blues and Brodeur will part ways when the goaltender’s leave of absence concludes. The goaltender has indicated that he may not be open to another change, leading to the belief that he could possibly hang up his skates.
“I’m enjoying every moment of it,” Brodeur said a few weeks ago. “Whenever a decision is made, hopefully I will be the first to know and I’ll be happy or disappointed or whatever. But it’s been a great ride.”