Edge interviews Martin Brodeur
For the latest installment of WWE.com's Superstar to Superstar, Edge chatted it up with his favorite hockey player, goalie Martin Brodeur of the New Jersey Devils. Both Superstars are multiple-time champions and proud Canadian natives. Check out the transcript of their conversation.
Edge: I have to admit this isn't going to be an interview as much as it's going to be an ass- kissing on my part because I get to interview my favorite hockey player from my favorite hockey team. The New Jersey Devils goaltender, multiple time all-star, Olympic gold medal winner, and multiple-time Stanley Cup champ— Martin Brodeur. I grew up in Toronto so that means I grew up a Leafs fan, I'm sure you grew up a Canadiens fan.
Martin Brodeur: Yep.
Edge: I loved Chico Resch, he was my favorite goalie. I loved Michel "Bunny" Larocque too but Chico Resch was my guy. When the [Colorado] Rockies moved to New Jersey, [in 1982] I became a huge fan of the Devils. As a kid I just thought their jersey had the best emblem. I've been a fan from the supposed Mickey Mouse days, to Sean Burke and to you leading the Devils to three Stanley Cups. Now you always put a tough team on the ice, but this year especially with you, Rafalski, Parise, Gionta and Gomez who is back now. Do you think the Devils could be sipping from the Cup again this year?
Martin Brodeur: I think so. The core players are coming back year after year and I think we did have some success in the past. You see many teams making changes, and in New Jersey we keep the same core players all the time. We learn to win through the year, that's the beauty of playing in New Jersey every year— you feel as though you have a chance of winning the Stanley Cup. It makes it hard with the salary cap now, every team gets a little better because the money is evenly distributed throughout the whole league and it's a little more competitive than it used to be. I have a lot of faith and a lot of confidence in our organization to have that kind of success once again. Our goal is winning the Stanley cup.
Edge: That actually leads me to my next question. I read your book Beyond the Crease, and you mentioned how the Devils have been modeled by [General Manager] Lou Lamoriello after the Canadien system of the ‘70s. I'm biased, but I think the Devils are the closest thing in today's hockey climate to being a dynasty. Do you think we'll see a team dominate a decade like the Canadiens did in the ‘70s or the Islanders did in the ‘80s again?
Martin Brodeur: I think it's going to be really, really hard. I think some of the organizations will have success if they can get the best coaching staff, scouts, and directors of personnel. Whichever team gets the best people to work for their organization will be able to put somewhat of a dynasty together. It's just because now your draft is so important, before you could rely on buying players, now it's a different story. You need to grow through your system. If you look at New Jersey, the way we're built, a lot of guys are coming in from our own draft. We have two young guys, Zach Parise and Travis Zajac who were drafted. These are the last two rookies we drafted, and now they are in our lineup and play at a high level. One of the most important people is the team scout for the success of the franchise.
Edge: One thing that I was really impressed by from your book is that you are willing to take less money than you deserve for the sake of the team. It is a refreshing attitude that I wish more players took. Who in the league right now do you respect the most?
Martin Brodeur: For me as far as pure talent, Jaromir Jagr— great athlete, great player and a great guy. The guy is 6'5" 240, he's a big boy to play the game with the finesse he has out there.
Edge: He's got great hands; you wouldn't think he'd be that big. If you had to choose someone to draft for the Devils between Sidney Crosby, Alexander Ovechkin, and Evgeni Malkin, who would you pick?
Martin Brodeur: Crosby. I think Sidney is a total package. He is going to get people around him and he's a good one-on-one player. What I like about him is that he is just a solid player. As a center you have a lot more responsibilities than you do as a winger. Not to take away from Ovechkin and Malkin, these guys have tremendous talent and they'll be moving this league forward for many years, but for my money I would go after Sidney Crosby.
Edge: Yeah, he seems more of a team player too, which is what the Devils are all about —team. Which player do you least look forward to facing?
Martin Brodeur: Miroslav Satan from the Islanders is a guy who seems to have my number. Zigmund Palffy back in the day used to be a guy who bothered me, but he retired. I am glad that I won't have to face him anymore. You have guys like Darcy Tucker that are always in your face and are always going to be sniffing for a loose puck or jabbing at your glove when you make a save. I had a chance to play against him in the playoffs a couple of years in a row in the early 2000s, he is an unbelievable competitor.
Edge: I've seen a lot of Tucker especially being from Toronto. I split my days off between Toronto and Tampa, and I'm always depressed at the lack of hockey coverage in the U.S. — especially compared to Canada. Do you think there is anything the NHL can do to increase U.S. exposure for hockey?
Martin Brodeur: There is a lot they can and will do. Since the new agreement everyone is excited about hockey. We have some of the biggest superstars that are playing in the United States. I think the NHL will get a [television] network out for the Americans to be able to have 24-hour coverage on the games. I've lived in New Jersey for the last 13 years, I have kids and they play hockey. Hockey is so popular, and I think you just have to make it more accessible for everyone to follow the great players that we have in our sport.
Edge: You've done it all. Between the Vezina Trophy, Olympic gold medal for Canada and multiple Stanley Cups, what do you consider your highlight in your career that's been full of highlights?
Martin Brodeur: Winning the Stanley Cup is what you dream of as a kid. Playing in the Olympics as a professional didn't start until '98, so when I was 10 years old, I never thought I would be playing for the gold medal. Now I've had a chance to live the Olympic experience, and it's quite an experience to play for your country and know that there are millions and millions of people who are supporting you. When we did win that gold medal in 2002 in Salt Lake City, it was probably one of the biggest things I've accomplished at a personal level. I will always think highly of that experience, that's for sure.
Edge: More than just one city behind you, you have a whole country.
Martin Brodeur: You live your life with amateur athletes, and live in the Olympic Village; you eat with them and even sleep in the dorms with them. It's just a fun experience that professional athletes overlook because you travel so much and don't have time to enjoy what you are doing. When you go to the Olympics, everything is based on the sport and the performance at that time and not through six months. It's pretty rewarding when you finish on top.
Edge: We actually share a lot of similarities. Neither of us have agents, both of our careers started around the same time, we've both been champions on more than one occasion, and I know how it feels some mornings to slowly get out of bed. How much gas do you think you have left in the tank?
Martin Brodeur: Right now I feel great; I have a contract for another five years with the Devils. Who knows? I just want to have fun doing what I'm doing. When the time comes that it is a drag to play hockey, that's when I'll say: leave it to someone else to do the job for the Devils. Right now, I just don't see it. I'm one of the oldest players on my team at 34. I've got a few more good years ahead of me.
Edge: I'm 33; I've been doing this for 15 years now. To be one of the older guys now that people ask advice from, it's surreal. I guess for me, when it becomes a job, that's when it will be time to hang it up. Right now, it's still just so much fun!
Martin Brodeur: Just to see the kids, the younger players, the excitement they have and how much you are able to help them -- it keeps you going. I won my first Stanley Cup in '95 I was a young buck and I saw the older guys who were so excited for me. I'm sure it's the same in your sport as well.
Edge: Yeah, seeing young guys grow and blossom into main event guys -- it's fun to see. This was a really big pleasure for me. When we went to the Meadowlands one of the guys gave me one of your sticks. I shipped it back home, so I have it down in the basement in Canada. I'm a huge fan of the Devils and a huge fan of yours, so it was really nice to talk to you.
Martin Brodeur: Same here, I appreciate you taking the time to talk to me.
Edge: Maybe we'll run into each other and have a Molson some time.
Martin Brodeur: That would be great!