Game day notebook: In praise of Brodeur, Karlsson and Jagr

The usually outspoken Martin Brodeur is once again not talking on game days, which meant there was no opportunity for a 30-45 minute conversation on the state of his game, the NHL or the world in general following Wednesday’s morning skate.

Game day notebook: In praise of Brodeur, Karlsson and Jagr
New Jersey Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur, left, celebrates with Jaromir Jagr, of the Czech Republic, after an NHL hockey game against the Tampa Bay Lightning, Saturday, Dec. 14, 2013, in Newark, N.J. Brodeur stopped 33 Lightning shots as the Devils won 3-0. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

The usually outspoken Martin Brodeur is once again not talking on game days, which meant there was no opportunity for a 30-45 minute conversation on the state of his game, the NHL or the world in general following Wednesday’s morning skate.

Brodeur was, however, on the tips of many tongues – including those in the Senators dressing room.

Senators goaltender Robin Lehner, who faced Brodeur for only the second time in his career Wednesday, couldn’t say enough about the guy at the other end of the rink.

“He’s one of the best goalies there has ever been, so there’s not much to say…he’s still sick, he’s so smart,” Lehner said before the game.

While it has appeared the end of Brodeur’s career has been close at several points, including earlier this season, Lehner says he never doubted Brodeur’s ability to bounce back.

“He’s too smart, he knows the game too well,” said Lehner. “He’ll adjust his game to whatever he needs it to be. He has so much experience, it’s ridiculous.”

While Lehner was raving about Brodeur, Devils coach Peter DeBoer was singing the praises of Senators defenceman Erik Karlsson.

“Karlsson’s level of play is at a whole different level than what it was (at the start of the season),” said DeBoer. “When I’m watching them lately, it looks like he’s back to where he was before his (Achilles) injury, so that’s definitely a factor.”

JAGR’S LITTLE NUMBERS

Jaromir Jagr, the Devils 41-year-old right winger and future Hall of Famer, continues to turn heads by leading the team in scoring. He had 11 goals and 17 assists before Wednesday’s game against the Senators and DeBoer acknowledges overplaying him during a recent stretch where the Devils played 11 games in 18 days.

For all that, it’s rather odd that Jagr has no power play goals this season, leading to a funny back-and-forth exchange with a pair of New Jersey reporters Wednesday:

Reporter: “What can you do better, do you think, on the power play?”

Jagr: “That’s for sure, one area, where we should improve. I’m surprised that I’ve got more hits than power play goals, so…I’ve got one hit.”

Reporter: “That’s a little strange for you, I would imagine, to have no power play goals?”

Jagr: “Yeah, but I’ve got one hit. That’s even stranger.”

JAGR’S BIG NUMBERS

Jagr began Wednesday’s game on a line with Dainius Zubrus and Travis Zajac – The Old Man and The Zee’s, anyone? — a unit which entered the game having scored a combined 1,011 goals and 1,558 assists in 3,049 regular season NHL games.

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