Most athletes find it difficult to retire. Not so for goaltender Martin Brodeur, the NHL's career leader in wins, shutouts, games played and minutes played.
Brodeur on Thursday announced his retirement and said he had accepted a position as a senior advisor with the St. Louis Blues. "I'm leaving the game really, really happy," he said at a news conference in St. Louis.
A three-time Stanley Cup winner during 21 seasons with the New Jersey Devils, Brodeur wanted to continue his career after the Devils didn't offer him another contract last summer. He joined the Blues in December, after Brian Elliott was injured, and appeared in seven games, five of them starts. He was 3-3-0 with a 2.87 goals-against average and .899 save percentage and sometimes looked brilliant. Though at other times he appeared slow to react to shots. His last game was a 4-3 loss to the Ducks at Anaheim on Jan. 2.
Brodeur retired with 691 wins, 125 shutouts, 1,226 games played and 7,438 minutes played in regular-season play and compiled a 2.24 goals-against average and .924 save percentage. In the playoffs, he was 113-91 with 24 shutouts, a 2.02 goals-against average and .919 save percentage.
Brodeur, 42, was no longer needed on the ice by the Blues after Elliott recovered and backup Jake Allen straightened out his game. Brodeur told reporters he didn't want to go somewhere else simply to prolong his career.
"I played 21 years in one organization and a month and a half somewhere else and I didn't want to be moving around. So it's something that I didn't really look at," he said. "I had a blast here in St. Louis and I didn't want that experience to be overshadowed because I made a different move. To be in the same situation somewhere else did not really attract me that much."
Blues General Manager Doug Armstrong wanted Brodeur to remain with the club to share his knowledge and experience. Brodeur took two weeks to ponder his options before accepting the Blues' job offer. "He's going to travel with the team on a daily basis, he's going to interact with our players and our coaches," Armstrong said. "Our goals are very simple in St. Louis with this team, it's to prepare and be competitive to win a Stanley Cup and to ultimately win a Stanley Cup."
Brodeur didn't rule out returning to the Devils someday, though he wouldn't say when that might be.
"I'm doing this now as a St. Louis Blue and I want to learn as much as I can and we'll see where that's going to bring me," he said. "I might not like this. I might just go and say playing golf every day looks a lot better than doing this. I'll make a decision on my future whenever it comes around. Right now, I'm just going to go all-in on this."
But he acknowledged that he will always be considered a member of the Devils.