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When Will Martin Brodeur Return?

So the on-going story outside of the Devils' games is the eventual return of Martin Brodeur. You know. Brodeur. The winner of 3 Stanley Cups, 4 Vezina trophies, a Gold medal for Canada in 2002, many other accolades and records, and the man who makes remarkable saves at any given moment for Jersey's Team. He's got 544 wins, 98 shutouts, and the love of Devils fans everywhere. You probably have heard of him by now. He's kind of a big deal.

He's traveling with the team while on their current road trip, but as Chere reported the other day, Brent Sutter was adamant that he won't play due to a lack of practice. Fair enough. A quick look at the schedule shows a nice 4 day gap between the Islanders game this Saturday and Feb. 26 against Colorado. If a lack of practice is the issue, surely, that will be resolved then, right?

Not so fast! Mark Everson has an impeccable source and reported in the NY Post (much) earlier today that Martin Brodeur will definitely not play on February 26. This quote, well, just read it:

Any Devil fans who bought tickets for the Feb. 26 game against Colorado, expecting to see Martin Brodeur's first comeback game on the strength of a speculative report, are almost certainly out of luck, an impeccable source told The Post yesterday.

Speculative reports, eh? That's some kind of journalism, I guess. Well, no one made the February 26 date officially the Return of Marty™. I think fans will still go because, well, they support the team. But that's just my opinion. Yet, here's where it gets interesting.

Gulitti reported today, after Everson's article went up, that Martin Brodeur himself says his goal is to return for the February 26th game against the Avalanche in And why not? The four day break will allow the time for practice. Moreover, Gulitti pointed out in his column in the Bergen Record, Marty was expected to be out for 4 months and his recovery has been on track. And that coincides with the February 26th date. NY Post Owned! Right?

Not quite! According Gulitti later today, Brodeur, well, clarified his position:

"I know that's the big 26th date," he said. "We'll see how I feel. I feel really, really good. Like I said, I feel I would be able to jump in and play (Thursday). I think this is not the right timing for me to do it. With the team, we'll make the decision when I feel 100 percent and they feel 100 percent comfortable with me in net. That's the bottom line. The guys here are playing really well, so it's going to be a matter of when I feel good and after that I'll let them know that I feel good and it will be their call."

Well, this is true. It won't be Brodeur's call; it'll be Sutter's call to start Marty. Or any other goaltender. And if he's not feeling quite ready, February 28 and March 1 aren't far away - the next Devils games after the Colorado game.

It's good that the team isn't making any statement about a return date or promoting any game as the night Brodeur returns. That said, I think Brodeur has to be a bit more careful with his words. I think he realized here that he said more than he'd like. Because I'd expect someone (Everson) to jump on this bit of a walk-back and start claiming that Brodeur will have a "set-back." Even when Gulitti has noted that Brodeur has had no such things yet.

So we're back at the start. I'm sure the Colorado faithful are a bit confused as to who they will see that night. Something tells me, likely their current position in the league, that they don't care who it is - they need points. Hopefully, Brodeur keeps on track and gets the practice time he needs.