Brodeur on the offensive

, Last Updated: 6:55 PM ET

Since everybody seems to be having so much advice for the netminders these days, the guy who may be the best goalie in the world, Martin Brodeur, wants to return the favour.

He is offering advice for those who labour on the offensive side of the game.

Smarten up.

"This is what the game is lacking to a certain extent," said Brodeur as he chatted after a session at the Olympic orientation camp last week in Kelowna, B.C.

"As goalies, we were brought up with our own coaches. I know, as Canadians, you learn from them. Also, we look at tapes of other goalies and try to bring something to your game.

"Something that's not healthy in our game is offence. How many teams have offensive coaches? You don't see that."

Brodeur certainly has a point. There are assistant coaches in the National Hockey League, but they seem to work mostly on the defensive aspects.

They often run the drills, but for the most part, those are defensive drills. There have even been NHL coaches who never bothered with practising the power play. The players were left to figure that out for themselves.

"So many guys are talking about the lack of scoring," said Brodeur. "But you don't have power-play coaches. Football is so specialized because the individual is important in a team game.

"If they are going to complain, they might as well try to get it better. There are not too many teams that have been doing that -- to try to get better offensively."

Like all the NHL goalies, Brodeur feels that he doesn't get enough credit for his skills. In recent years, as goals-against averages have dropped, fans have increasingly blamed that development on the goalie's equipment.

The 'keepers insist that their personal improvement, their skill development, has been overlooked. But now, the league has cracked down on the size of the goalie's equipment and we'll find out just how much the padding had to do with the their success.

Brodeur doesn't expect to see a major change.

"I don't think its going to make a whole lot of difference," he said. "You'd have these guys saying: 'Well I didn't score because you can't see the net.' Now I think with the new rules coming in, that's what the goalies want. It will take people off our backs.

"There are no more excuses for anybody."

It is Brodeur's belief that if the scorers want to get back the dominance they once held over the goaltenders, they should focus more attention to the offensive side of the game.

"I've been in the league for 12 or 13 years," he said, "and I've always had a goalie coach. When I played in junior, I always had a goalie coach. When I played in midget, I always had a goalie coach.

In fact, the goalie and his coach are so intertwined in their roles that they don't have a lot of involvement with the rest of the coaching staff.

"My head coach, I don't really talk to him too much as far as hockey is concerned," Brodeur admitted.

"You say: 'It was a good game last night' and that's about it.

"You see defensive coaches for defencemen. You see old defencemen come in. But it's pretty rare that you're going see a Mike Bossy or someone who was a top-notch scorer, really get into a team and tell the power-play guys, this is a problem we have.

"You don't see that expertise brought to the offence, but they're complaining that it's a problem. Hopefully, they'll catch on to that because they're going to need it in the future."

The gauntlet has been thrown.


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