The great goalie debate

Martin Brodeur tied Terry Sawchuck’s “unbreakable” shutout record last week with his 103rd zero on the board. When Brodeur breaks the record sometime this season (it’ll happen, or I’ll jinx it and Marty will never get another shutout, I could care less either way), the talk of “greatest goaltender ever” will resurface as it always does when a record is broken.

In the modern-day competition of best goalie, the line is drawn between those who like Brodeur and those who like Patrick Roy, he of Montreal Canadiens and Colorado Avalanche fame. First, let’s look statistically.

As far as stats go, Martin Brodeur is the best goalie in the history of the NHL. Hands down. No argument. Done. Look on The only thing Roy has that Brodeur doesn’t is the playoffs.

Brodeur and Roy are tied for most postseason shutouts, but Roy has three Conn Smythes (the most ever) and about 60 more playoff wins. Even still, Brodeur has a 1.98 GAA to Roy’s 2.30 GAA, so the playoffs aren’t even that different. Thus, I present to you the new way to debate about who is the greatest goalie of all time: looking at things that don’t relate in any way to their skill as a goaltender.

#1: On-ice Shenanigans

Roy has a list of goalie fights, my favorite of which being his bout with Chris Osgood, if for nothing more than the excitement the announcer has: I couldn’t find a Brodeur fight in 43 seconds of searching on YouTube, so I’m guessing he doesn’t have many.

Regardless, Brodeur’s most famous recent on-ice achievement was his stick-throwing expertise in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals last year against Carolina. This video sums it up perfectly: The goal is at the beginning, and the explosion is around 2:40.

Brodeur wanted goaltender interference, but he moved OUTSIDE the crease and into Jokinen. The guy saying it’s interference is a Devils commentator. It’s OK to be a homer, but that guy is straight up wrong.

#2: ‘Potent Quote-ables’

Granted, most of these are prompted by my memories of awesome things Roy did. I try to give Brodeur as much chance as possible, though, meaning I scan the first page of YouTube videos with “Brodeur quote” in the search box (I came up with zero, by the way).

Jeremy Roenick has always been known for a good quote, and he didn’t disappoint in the 1996 Western Conference semifinals.
After being stopped on a breakaway while being drug down by an Avalanche player, Roenick stated the takedown should have earned him a penalty shot. Also, he went on to describe how he did score on a breakaway in Game 3 and what he thought of Roy’s retort that he would have stopped Roenick if given a penalty shot: “I like Patrick’s quote that he would’ve stopped me. I’d just want to know where he was in Game 3, probably getting his jock out of the rafters in the United Center maybe.”

Roy, in classic French-Canadian accent, came over the top of Roenick, not an easy task, with the legendary burn, “I can’t really hear what Jeremy says, because I’ve got my two Stanley Cup rings plugging my ears.” Check it out:

#3: Rule Changes

As far as I know, Patrick Roy has never had a rule implemented because of his dominance in the NHL. The conspiracy theory holds that Martin Brodeur has. After the lockout in 2005, the dreaded trapezoid behind the net was created, something many folks considered an idea specifically directed to keep Brodeur from playing the puck so often. So much so is this idea espoused that people have nicknamed the trapezoid the “Brodeur Rule.”

#4: Miscellany

Both men participate in various charities, and I’m not one to compare generosity. Roy coaches the Quebec Remparts of the QMJHL, and he won the Memorial Cup in 2006 as a rookie coach. He also was fined $4,000 and suspended for five games after he told his son to beat the you-know-what out of another goalie. Check out Ouch.

In a league where goalie pad sizes have gotten to epic proportions, Brodeur still wears the league minimum even though he could wear much larger gear. There are other things to debate between Roy and Brodeur, especially considering their careers didn’t match up precisely and Brodeur plays in the post-lockout NHL. However, the actions of these two when not in goal are independent of the eras in which they played, and this is just a small sample to argue who’s better, ignoring statistics.