Brodeur gearing up for Olympics

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:20 AM ET

Forget about the war of words between Paul Martin and Stephen Harper.

The most heated debate swirling throughout this country these days involves the goaltending situation for Team Canada heading into the winter Olympics in Turin.

There even have been recent concerns about veteran Martin Brodeur, the man who at one time was considered to be -- and still should be -- the shoo-in for the starter's job.

Why all the fuss?

Here's a guy who has won two Vezina Trophies, three Stanley Cups, backstopped Canada to an Olympic gold medal in Salt Lake City in 2002, then was between the pipes when Canada captured the World Cup last year.

Besides, the one guy who isn't worried about Martin Brodeur is, well, Martin Brodeur.

"People should relax," Brodeur said, responding to his critics during a phone interview from New Jersey yesterday. "I don't know why there are concerns. If you look at it, the tournament is played in February, not December.

"I remember back in 2002, just before I was named to the team, I had a couple of bad games. All of a sudden, people were saying 'Whoa, is he still on the team after that?' "

Yes he was. And several months later, there was a gold medal dangling around his neck.

Admittedly, Brodeur has struggled at times this season. Coming off a slight knee injury, his record is 11-9-1 and his goals-against average is an un-Brodeur like 3.09.

Of course, the absence of defencemen Scott Stevens and Scott Niedermayer in New Jersey this season has a lot to do with those inflated numbers.

"I feel pretty good," Brodeur said. "The leg is getting better, and I'm just moving up to where I want to be.

"I don't have a problem with where my game is right now."

Told that Team Canada executive director Wayne Gretzky put his full support behind him earlier in the week, Brodeur expressed his appreciation.

"I'm really happy to have the confidence of the Team Canada brass," Brodeur said.

Now if only the Canadian media and public could share the Great One's feelings.


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