Brodeur backs NHL return to Quebec City

CHRIS STEVENSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 5:17 PM ET

NEWARK, N.J. -- Martin Brodeur is a few years away from retiring.

But if the New Jersey Devils goaltender is looking for a job in the future, he'd be pretty good at promoting La Belle Province.

Brodeur came out in support of Quebec City getting back in the NHL Saturday.

"I won't be able to get back in the country if I say something different. Even though I'm American, I still want to keep my Canadian citizenship," he said with a laugh. "I'm biased because Quebec is my home province, but I think it would be a great thing. I know they're trying to get the (Winter) Olympics in 2018 and they've had some big shows there, some big acts.

"I've talked to a lot of people and there is a huge buzz in that city. They've shown interest in building a new rink and they're looking for the federal government to chip in. Hockey is healthy but it could get healthier with Canadian teams. The fan base is there, the money is there and the economy is doing decent."

Brodeur was just as enthusiastic about what awaits him and the Devils this season as the club's training camp opened with its first on-ice sessions at the Prudential Center Saturday.

The 38-year-old is getting into his twilight years, but he said he has found a different focus heading into the season after talking to former teammate John Madden, a fellow veteran who went to the Chicago Blackhawks and found satisfaction in winning another Stanley Cup with young teammates experiencing the ultimate victory for the first time.

"I talked to John Madden a lot. That's one thing he said. He wanted to go to a team last year that had a chance. For him to be one of the older guys winning a Stanley Cup was great. It's a feeling you can't buy. If I played for a team that didn't know if it would make the playoffs, that drive could go away. Right now I feel we have as good a chance as anybody in the league.

"Personally, I could retire tomorrow and I'd be happy with what I accomplished," said Brodeur, who is coming off a 45-win season, which led the league for the ninth time. "But when you're given the opportunity to do more, you've got to be happy about that. To see (teammates) Zach (Parise) and Travis (Zajac) and Greenie (Andy Greene) and the way he came about last season and Kovy (Ilya Kovalchuk). These guys have never won a Stanley Cup. To see their faces (if the Devils won their fourth Stanley Cup)..."

Brodeur has also got a little extra juice from the Devils' off-season moves. They finally managed to get winger Ilya Kovalchuk under contract, repatriated centre Jason Arnott and boosted their blueline with shotblocker Anton Volchenkov and solid defender Henrik Tallinder.

"This is what puts a smile on my face, to see how talented we are on the ice and how big we got over the summer," said Brodeur. "I'm really looking forward to getting deeper into training camp and getting our season started just because I want to see how we'll be able to compete with other teams. I know a lot of teams got better around us, but we definitely did also. The depth of skilled players that we have is definitely going to be our strength."

He said he thinks the team has learned from three years of playoff disappointments, going out in the first round each time.

"We get in the playoffs and nothing seems to go our way, but you get bit a lot and hopefully you learn. The cards are there. You can't ask more than what the organization did for us. The coaching staff, the quality of the personnel, now it's up to the coaches and players to get it done."

chris.stevenson@sunmedia.ca


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