In his weekly column in Le Journal de Montreal on Sunday, the New Jersey Devils star goaltender said Crosby was the best choice for the award. But he clarified that opinion Monday during an NHL conference call. “When I was doing my column, it was kind of hard to pick myself,” Brodeur said. “I believe he’s one of the most valuable players in the league.
“If I had to vote and you couldn’t vote for yourself, that’s the guy I would be voting for.”
And if he did have a vote?
“You should never vote against yourself – that’s not a good sign,” he replied with a laugh.
The media selects the Hart Trophy winner and Brodeur, Crosby and Vancouver Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo appear to be the front-runners.
Crosby leads the league with 111 points, while Brodeur and Luongo are tied for the lead in wins with 43 apiece. Both goalies have a shot at reaching former Philadelphia Flyer Bernie Parent’s record of 47 wins in a season set in 1973-74.
In his newspaper column, Brodeur said he and Luongo should be candidates for the Vezina Trophy as top goaltender.
But he doesn’t buy the argument that since there is a separate trophy for goalies that they shouldn’t be considered for the Hart, which has been won three times previously by goalies – Jacques Plante, Dominik Hasek and Jose Theodore.
“I know we have our own award, but you can be a big part of your team,” he said. “I know that in history, only three guys have got that award, but these days the goaltenders are so important to their club, they deserve to win it as much as a forward.”
Brodeur and Luongo not only lead in wins, they are the two busiest goalies in the league. Brodeur has played 72 of the Devils’ 75 games this season, while Luongo has been in 70 of the Canucks’ 75 matches.
Brodeur is 43-22-7 and is third in the league with a 2.22 goals-against average and a .922 save percentage, to go with a league-leading 12 shutouts. Luongo is right behind at 43-20-6 with a 2.29 average, a .921 save percentage and four shutouts.
While Brodeur once again has the powerful Devils at the top of the Atlantic Division, Luongo’s performance has lifted the Canucks from playoff outsiders last season to the top of the Northwest Division.
In Le Journal, Brodeur said of Luongo: “He has literally transformed his team and he is certain to receive a good number of votes for the Hart.”
Should either Brodeur or Luongo, or both, catch Parent’s record, debate will rage that it was tainted because goalies now get wins for overtime or shootout victories that would have been ties in the 1970s.
Brodeur, who has stopped at 43 wins three times before in his career, said matching Parent’s 47 wins was tough even before overtime was introduced.
But he said it gives current goaltenders a clear advantage.
“I don’t think it’s fair for some goalies who had records to be compared (to those who benefit from overtimes wins),” he said. “Definitely it’s a big help to have shootouts now.”