Giving Devils' Duo its DuePosted on January 14, 2013 by Mike Vogel
Some quick – and admittedly perfunctory – research shows that the 2011-12 New Jersey Devils are just the second team in NHL history to feature a goaltending tandem in which each of its two netminders – Martin Brodeur and Johan Hedberg – is aged 38 or older. Prior to Brodeur and Hedberg, only the legendary tandem of Glenn Hall and Jacques Plante – Hockey Hall of Famers both – manned the pipes at the age of 38 or older for the same team in the same season. Hall and Plante worked for the 1969-70 St. Louis Blues. The 39-year-old Brodeur, a future first ballot Hockey Hall of Famer, has minded the twine in New Jersey for the better part of the last two decades. After being selected with New Jersey’s first-round choice (20th overall, obtained in a deal with Calgary) in the 1990 NHL Entry Draft, Brodeur made his NHL debut for the Devils on March 26, 1992, making 24 saves in a 4-2 win over Boston. Since then Brodeur has racked up four Vezina Trophies, eight seasons with 40 or more wins, and three Stanley Cup championships. And he has virtually re-written the NHL’s record book for goaltenders. Brodeur has made a pretty good living against the Capitals over the years, too. Although Washington has eroded his lifetime numbers against the Caps over the last several seasons, Brodeur is still 36-16-4 with six shutouts, a 2.28 GAA and a .908 save pct. against the Capitals. The 38-year-old Hedberg has been a journeyman netminder in the NHL for more than a decade now. He was originally drafted with Philadelphia’s ninth-round pick (218th overall) in the 1994 NHL Entry Draft. Hedberg has been the property of seven different organizations over the years, and he was worn the sweater of five different NHL clubs. Debuting with the Penguins as a 27-year-old in 2000-01, Hedberg went 7-1-1 for Pittsburgh down the stretch and then carried the Pens to the Eastern Conference final against the Devils. Pittsburgh’s playoff road that year included a first-round playoff ouster of the Capitals in a six game series. Washington managed a total of 10 goals in six postseason games against Hedberg that spring. Eleven of Hedberg’s 143 career regular-season victories have come at Washington’s expense; he is 11-6-2 with a pair of shutouts, a 2.45 GAA and a .914 save pct. lifetime against the Capitals. Hedberg made 30 saves to put a 5-0 whitewash on Washington last Nov. 22. Just for kicks, here are a few single-season NHL records by goaltenders aged 38 or older: Most games: Dwayne Roloson, 63 games at age 39 with Edmonton in 2008-09. Most wins: Dominik Hasek, 38 wins at age 42 with Detroit in 2006-07. Most losses: Nikolai Khabibulin, 32 losses at age 38 with Edmonton in 2010-11. Best save pct. (40 or more games): Hasek, .925 save pct. at age 41 with Detroit in 2005-06. Worst save pct. (40 or more games): Khabibulin, .890 last season with Edmonton. Best GAA (40 or more games): Hap Holmes, 1.73 GAA at age 39 for the 1927-28 Detroit Cougars. “Modern” record held by Plante, who posted a 1.88 GAA at age 42 with the 1970-71 Toronto Maple Leafs. Worst GAA (40 or more games): Tony Esposito, 4.52 in 52 games at age 38 for the 1981-82 Chicago Blackhawks. Most shutouts: Holmes, 11 at age 39 for Cougars in 1927-28. “Modern” mark held by Eddie Belfour with 10 at age 38 for the 2003-04 Maple Leafs. Penalty minutes: Gerry Cheevers, 62 PIM at age 39 for Boston in 1979-80.
For the first time in the 2011-12 season, the Washington Capitals woke up on Friday morning looking up at another team in the Southeast Division standings. By virtue of their 5-2 win over the Jets in Winnipeg on Thursday day, the Florida Panthers leapfrogged over the Capitals into the top perch in