New Jersey Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)
Martin Brodeur has been in the nets for three Stanley Cup championship teams during his 19-year NHL career. He has played in 193 playoff games, winning 107. He has played in nine NHL All-Star Games. He has more career regular-season victories (656) than any goaltender in NHL history.
And he knows none of that will mean a thing when he steps between the pipes Monday for Game 1 of the New Jersey Devils 2012 NHL Playoffs Eastern Conference Finals against the New York Rangers (8 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network).
"I'll be judged about the performance I'm going to throw out there the next two weeks," Brodeur, 40, said Sunday during a conference call with the media."I mean, does it matter what I did in the past, whatever I'm going to do in the next two weeks is what people will talk about. So that's just the nature of being still active in the NHL. And if I wasn't ready for it, I wouldn't be here."
Brodeur says he wants his teammates "to just enjoy the moment."
"This is a great time in everybody's lives. And we need to really take it all in," Brodeur said. "You never know when you're going to get back in the situation that you're going to play for a chance to go to the Stanley Cup Finals and playing against our biggest rival, kind of puts a cherry on top."
Brodeur, of course, understands the added hype and attention the series will get because the Devils are facing the rival Rangers.
"I think it's a big rivalry. They're the best team in the Eastern Conference. They proved it all year. They got themselves the No. 1 spot. They used it for two Game 7s to be able to stay alive in the Playoffs, and they're going to use it to have home ice advantage right from the get‑go on us," Brodeur said. "So for us we have to do what we've been doing, just put our head down and listen to our coach and just play well."