Elbow room in Devils' net

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:45 AM ET

NEWARK, N.J. -- At times, Scott Clemmensen didn't feel as much like a goalie as he did a season ticket holder with the best seat in the house.

For as long as he's been here, going on four years, not including last year's brief stint in the Leafs' organization, he's been able to watch every game from the bench.

Well, not every single game. There was one year when played six times. And one where he played a whopping four.

'SAT FOR TWO MONTHS'

"I've sat for two months before, gone eight, nine weeks between starts," said Clemmensen, who drew in last night against the Edmonton Oilers. "Two years ago, the last time I was a full backup, I had four starts. The fourth start ended up being Game 82."

When you're Martin Brodeur's caddy, you might as well be sipping beer, eating popcorn and waving a big foam No. 1 hand, because you ain't playin', Jack.

It normally takes a high-level summit meeting to get you in there.

"It was the coaching staff getting together and talking with Marty, seeing what he wants and he needs, what would be best for the team," said Clemmensen, adding more often than not, the verdict was, 'Let's just go with Marty, again.'

'THE PERFECT STORM'

"It had to be the perfect storm for me. Things had to be going just right. If the team was on a roll, you didn't want to change things. If they were doing bad, you needed him to play."

But now, with Brodeur on the shelf after elbow surgery, Clemmensen and Kevin Weekes, barring a trade, will be called on to carry the mail, which is kind of like being called on to play a few tunes after the Rolling Stones just left the stage.

"I don't think we're expected to have to be the next Marty Brodeur," said the 31-year-old from Iowa. "We're trying to fill in and play our games the best that we can. It's a good opportunity for both of us. We're early in this process right now, but we still expect to play Devils' hockey every game."


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