Brodeur ready to go

LANCE HORNBY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:06 AM ET

Martin Brodeur spent a good part of yesterday morning signing Team Canada jerseys, hopeful that one gets put aside for himself next month.

Though the full extent of National Hockey League ringers in the world championship is yet to be determined -- Mario Lemieux has indicated he won't play because he thinks he'll be out of shape -- the Olympic and World Cup-winning goaltender wants the chance to play in Vienna.

"I'm ready to go if they put me on board," the New Jersey Devils star said as he prepared to run the Save And Win With Inglis netminding clinic at the Hershey Centre in Mississauga. "The way I look at it, all the countries in Europe will be sending their big boys, so why shouldn't we?

"We've done well so far (in recent international competition). Let's keep it going."

Brodeur did not believe that an NHL team would be a rusty detriment to a string of Canadian men's and women's global titles the past few years, including back-to-back world championships with a B list of NHLers. Though Brodeur has been at home while more than 300 NHLers have played overseas, he feels the relaxed schedule of European club teams will not be too much of an advantage.

WORKING OUT

Brodeur hasn't played in any games in close to a year, but he works out regularly in Jersey and thinks one week of practice would be enough prep time for the world championship, April 30 to May 15.

"They still shoot the puck at the same speed," he said with a laugh.

Brodeur made his first Canadian appearance yesterday since the lockout began. He was host of 30 minor hockey goalies, ages six to 12, who won a spot at the clinic by writing an essay about Brodeur. Martin and his father, Denis, read 100 submissions, including one from a nine-year-old who did his class speech on the goalie and another who spelled out Brodeur's name with a superlative for each letter.

"This is a great way to come back," Brodeur said. "There are a lot of (negative) things going on with hockey right now."

Brodeur's first thought is to get back and help restore the Devils to a Stanley Cup, but he's mindful a second lost season would derail his chances of catching Patrick Roy in career victories. Brodeur turns 33 in May and needs 148 wins to catch Roy, assuming Ed Belfour doesn't play into his mid 40s. Brodeur and Belfour are also 28 shutouts behind Terry Sawchuk's NHL record of 103.

"One year would not make much difference, but two would make it tough to get up to those (Roy and Sawchuk) numbers," Brodeur said.

Canadian Hockey president Bob Nicholson is expected to talk to Gretzky within a few days to talk about being general manager of the world championship entry.


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