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Martin Brodeur sees some surprises when he looks at NHL standings

The veteran New Jersey Devils goaltender says that not a lot of what has happened 30 games into the season has surprised him, although the Philadelphia Flyers didn't look like a last-place team when the first puck was dropped.

"There are a lot of good players there and you shake your head when you see them at the bottom of our division," Brodeur said in a league-organized conference call Monday. "I think it's going to turn around for them."

As for San Jose, "You knew those guys were going to be good," he said.

He didn't expect Ottawa to get off to such a slow start, but the Senators appear back on track now.

One thing that has been no surprise at all has been Brodeur's continued excellence. Year in and year out, for 12 years, he's been one of the best. He's never had a losing season.

"I think it's the enthusiasm I have for the game - the love of the game," Brodeur replied when asked for the magic formula. "It gives me the drive to be the goalie that I am.

"I feel very fortunate to do what I do and each year I shake my head (in wonder) that I'm still here doing what I'm doing."

Brodeur was named first star of the week by the NHL after winning all three of his starts in the last week with a 0.65 goals-against average and .970 save percentage.

He got his 84th career shutout in a 2-0 win over the Flyers last Friday, tying Hockey Hall of Famer Glenn Hall for third place all-time.

"It's a lot different than it used to be," Brodeur said in downplaying the achievement. "I got most of my shutouts when the game was mostly defensive hockey.

"With the new style, it's going to get harder and harder to get to the 103 mark of Terry Sawchuk. It's tough, especially with teams killing so many penalties. It's all about offence now. Guys are going to the net a lot more freely than the used to. You don't see shutouts with 12 or 13 shots. I had a few of them earlier in my career, but you don't see them now. I've been lucky to play on disciplined teams."

Brodeur also increased his victories total to 463, second all-time to Patrick Roy (551) and two ahead of Florida's Ed Belfour.

Brodeur continues a heavy workload with the Devils. He's made no concessions to age.

"Not yet, but I'm sure it's going to come up soon," said the 34-year-old native of Montreal. "It's important that you take care of yourself.

"You don't want to get hurt in the back end of your career, so it's important to stay in top shape."

He's not the kind to ask for a rest.

"I grew up in this organization playing a lot of games," he explained. "I always try to compare myself to the other players.

"Scott Stevens was playing 82 games a year at 36 and 37" so he tries to be just as devoted to the team.

Brodeur let slip that he doesn't mind shootouts at all.

"It's a big challenge for goalies," he said. "If you're a guy who likes competition, this is it.

"It's a little tough sometimes when you don't win but it's a challenge and you have to like that."

He's impressed with all the good young goalies around the league - Henrik Lundqvist of the Rangers, Kari Lehtonen of the Thrashers, Ryan Miller of the Sabres, Marc-Andre Fleury of the Penguins . . .

None of them have better stats than Brodeur. In 27 appearances, he had 17 wins with a 2.19 GAA and .919 save percentage.



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