The New Jersey Devils just fired Ray Shero. But a franchise legend is stepping into an expanded role to relieve him. Also, today marks the anniversary of an incredible goaltending accomplishment.
The Devils’ decision to fire Shero came seemingly out of nowhere, just weeks after they allowed him to organize the vital Taylor Hall trade. In Shero’s place, the Devils promoted assistant general manager Tom Fitzgerald to the role of acting interim general manager. Meanwhile, a very familiar face, franchise legend Martin Brodeur, will be stepping in as an advisor to the hockey operations department.
Brodeur is a legend in every sense of the word, the all-time NHL leader in wins (691) and shutouts (125) among many other things. All but three of those wins and one of those shutouts came in a 21-year career with the Devils. The remainder came in a brief stint with the St. Louis Blues, with whom Brodeur ironically retired in the 2014-15 season.
Upon retirement, Brodeur stepped into a front-office role with the Blues. He advanced to assistant general manager underneath Doug Armstrong. But his home was always going to be in New Jersey, and it was there that he returned in 2018. He served in a new role with the Devils, due to his desire to spend time with his family, but there was always the possibility that his role might expand over time. And now it has.
Brodeur spoke on his new position with The Rink Podcast of the NHL. Here are some relevant excerpts.
It’s been only a few days into this and we’re going to have more conversations, but the first week we’re into this they value what I have to say, and it’s fun. Titles are titles. For me, I’m there to advise and put this ship back on track. We have a lot of good things in place. I think Ray and his people did a tremendous job, just the performance wasn’t there. We’ve got to get to that eventually, and soon. I’m looking forward to the challenge.
I have a 10-year-old at home that in my playing career I didn’t have much time to spend time with my kids because they grew up as my career was going on, but now I have time to spend with him and I value that a lot. But saying that, I’m jumping all in here with the Devils, with Tom Fitzgerald, to look over and see what the future could be for the Devils. I’m really excited for the opportunity. But it wasn’t really expected, trust me.Brodeur on his transition to a new role
The Devils are in an unenviable position, caught between a desire to compete and the need for a rebuild. But they do have two of the last three number one overall picks in their arsenal. They also have Brodeur on the case, and whether it’s sooner or later, his rise to the top of the front office seems inevitable at this point.
The mighty Colorado Avalanche have been struggling of late, going 3-4-3 in their last ten games. Goaltending has been part of the problem, and Philipp Grubauer was in desperate need of a win, entering the game with an .878 save percentage (SV%) in his last five games. Fortunately, the struggling San Jose Sharks provided a much-needed respite.
Grubauer faced 27 shots in the home start, stopping all of them for his first shutout of the season. The Sharks took just four shots on the power play and generated only six high danger chances. According to Natural Stat Trick, they had 1.57 expected goals (xG), a fairly paltry total.
But a struggling goalie should take nothing for granted, and the performance was a big win for both Grubauer and the Avalanche. Perhaps that will put the rumors that general manager Joe Sakic might be interested in Henrik Lundqvist on hold for a while.
For other goalie risers and fallers, check out the THW Goalie Page
Hall Hits 500
Glenn Hall is named “Mr. Goalie,” and there are plenty of reasons why. But chief among them is probably the most unbreakable record in NHL history: his 502 consecutive games-started streak. And on this day in 1962, the Chicago Blackhawks honored Hall prior to what would be his 500th consecutive regular-season start.
The Blackhawks lost 7-3 in this game against the Montreal Canadiens, and Hall’s regular-season streak would end just two starts later. But a 502-game streak is absurd. In today’s day and age, a goalie who starts more than 60 games in a season is considered an absolute workhorse. Unless there is a substantial change in the way hockey teams are run, this is a record that will never be broken.
Stephen Ground is an author with The Hockey Writers and is co-host of the Two Guys No Cup Podcast. He enjoys studying the numbers and providing fresh looks at various stories.