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At 34 years of age, shutout wizard has time to reach Sawchuck
Jim Matheson, The Edmonton Journal
Tuesday, December 12, 2006


EDMONTON - Glenn Hall offered up a hearty laugh at the news that Martin Brodeur had tied his amazing shutout number of 84.

"For 35 years, I had the most shutouts of any goalie who was alive," said Hall, who was No. 3 on the all-time list behind Terry Sawchuk and George Hainsworth.

Sawchuk, who died at 39 in a freak accident at his home in 1970, had 103 shutouts. Hainsworth, who also died prematurely in a car crash at 55 in 1950, had 94 in only 11 NHL seasons after following the legendary Georges Vezina in Montreal.

Hainsworth had 49 shutouts in his first 132 games over three years for the Canadiens, but then forward passing was allowed and his statistics dropped somewhat.

Brodeur, only 34, got No. 84 in a 2-0 shutout of the Flyers last week (his fourth this season) -- a week when he only gave up two goals in three starts to win the NHL's first-star award.

"I think he'll break Sawchuk's record, too. He'll eventually hold all the records (beating Patrick Roy's 551 wins; he has 463). Brodeur started young, he's played on a good team for a long time and he's a good goaltender. Those three things dictate how successful you're going to be," said Hall.

Brodeur, who's had at least nine shutouts in a year five times, feels Sawchuk's record may be unassailable.

"It's a lot different now than it used to be. I got most of my shutouts when the game was mostly defensive hockey. It's going to be harder and harder with the new style -- where guys go to the net a lot more freely (no hooking and holding allowed) and with teams having to kill so many penalties -- to get to that 103 mark," said Brodeur.

Maybe, but the Devils have taken the fewest penalties in the league and they're No. 4 in killing them. And he's still on a very disciplined team.

"Still, you don't see shutouts with 12 and 13 shots now. I had a few of them early in my career," said Brodeur.

Hall, now 75, admitted shutouts when he played in the '50s, '60s and '70s were easier to get than they are today,

although goalies back then looked like stickmen with their equipment compared to the Michelin Men of a few years ago.

The players -- not just the big guns, but the checkers --didn't all shoot 95 miles an hour in those days, though. Brodeur was luckily spared playing in the high-octane '80s, when the run and gun Oilers were ruling the roost. He didn't play his first NHL game until 1992, when he was 20.

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