Today, it became official.
The big story is right there on the front page of the Devils' website - Martin Brodeur has officially been activated from injured reserve. And the only reason why they would activate him now, right before a game, is because he is ready to play. In fact, you don't even need to guess or infer. As reported by Chere, Brent Sutter came right out and said this:
When practice ended, coach Brent Sutter asked Brodeur how he felt, and the goalie responded that he was ready to play.
"I told him he'd play," Sutter said. "Pretty brief conversation. He was excited."
There you are. (And this is a rare sighting this season, Sutter publicly committing to a goalie in advance!) So, fans of the Colorado Avalanche, you get to enjoy the return of Martin Brodeur at the Rock on February 26, 2009! We, the Devils faithful, certainly will! As far as what to expect from Brodeur in terms of performance, I would look at it this way. One of the greatest goaltenders of all time is excited and he feels good. Yes, he's playing for the first time in close to 4 months. But he's not worried and so I don't see how my worry would help or hurt his play. Let Marty be Marty and he'll be, well, Marty.
What was more surprising is that Scott Clemmensen got sent down to Lowell. It's surprising in the sense that Mirtle brought up: how can a goalie with this stat line be sent down?
|2008 - Scott Clemmensen||40||2356||25||13||1||5||94||2.39||1138||1044||.917||2|
To be fair, Mirtle quotes the reasoning behind it - Kevin Weekes would have to go through waivers, Clemmensen would not. It's also surprising because I thought Clemmensen would have go through waivers given his age. I was wrong. He was an emergency recall back then, and so he was exempt this whole time. Oh, and the emergency is over.
Alas, according to Gulitti, he's disappointed about it and I really don't blame him. He came into a situation with Weekes with the unenviable task of filling in for Martin Brodeur. They did well, and Clemmensen especially was a revelation. Yes, his rebound control is lacking. Yes, there were times he looked shaky in terms of his stance and position. But Sutter kept going to him for starts and you can't say he wasn't successful. That said, Clemmensen isn't bitter about the situation - it really did come down to numbers and waiver status moreso than performance. Plus, I would think any bitterness would be softened when he learns of what the team told Gulitti about about him.
Thank you Scott Clemmensen for all you have done. Though, this isn't a goodbye. In fact, Gulitti postulates that Clemmensen's visit to Lowell may be temporary:
An option that neither Clemmensen nor Lamoriello discussed with the media today would be a trade of Kevin Weekes. Weekes would have to clear waivers to be sent down, so sending him to Lowell was not a real possibility at this time. But it is possible that Clemmensen could be in Lowell only for as long as it takes Lamoriello to move Weekes.
Devils coach Brent Sutter repeatedly went back to Clemmensen over Weekes and, if the team intends to limit Brodeur's starts initially as he regains his form heading into the playoffs, Clemmensen might be the better option.
Clemmensen did not have to clear waivers to be sent down because he was on emergency recall after Brodeur's injury. He would have had to clear waivers to be sent down, however, if the Devils decided to keep him for a while after Brodeur was activated.
After March 4, Clemmensen could be called back up and would not have to worry about being sent down without clearing waivers again.
I think it could be more than coincidence that Gulitti brings up the possibility of moving Weekes. This is a very plausible scenario. If the Devils aren't looking to make a big deal, then moving Weekes for a "smaller" package in return is more sensible. I still think that if the Devils want to make a splash, then, they'd do better in packaging Clemmensen in a deal. Plus, Clemmensen has proven himself in more games than Weekes, despite Weekes actually having playoff experience at one point in his career. I like this scenario. Will it come true? Lou's at the helm, so I have no idea.
Regardless, thank you Scott Clemmensen, and best of luck to you, Martin Brodeur.