These are the things Martin Brodeur is capable of, the things that made the suggestion that he wouldn’t get the starting job back after his return preposterous:
— Notching a shutout in his first game back after missing more than 100 days, a feat that has been matched by… well… no one else in the history of the NHL.
— Notching a shutout in his third game back, too, a game that just happened to also be his third in four days.
— Bringing his shutout record this season to four in 13 starts. And 100 in his career. (But he’s just lucky and/or a product of the system.)
— Having an ability to shut down plays much faster than the guy some people suggested should have been keeping the starting job in his place.
— Playing a half-butterfly that makes him vastly better at keeping himself in plays that continue after rebounds than the guy some people suggested should have been keeping the starting job in his place.
— Controlling rebounds with said half-butterfly with such aplomb that he rarely concedes second chances.
— Handling the puck outside the crease in a functional manner, and communicating well enough with his D that it never appears that he’s working against his own teammates. We’ve missed that.
— Making us feel, when the first goal is scored by the Devils, “Well, this one’s over.”
— After coming back for a four-day stretch of 3-0-0 hockey with a 0.67 GAA and a .971 save percentage (that included beating the Flyers), he made a snowstorm blow up the East Coast so we could have a snow day on Monday. Because the only explanation for such good fortune is that Marty was responsible for it, right?
(We should say, though, that there is a down side to both events, Marty’s return and the snow day. The problem with Marty’s comeback is that the Devils are always best when they’re flying under the radar, but now everyone’s talking about how great they are. Hm. It’s a bit unnerving. And the problem with the snow day is that there was only ONE hockey game on today, and it was Avalanche/Islanders. On what planet is that an appealing match-up? It wasn’t appealing back in July when the schedule was set. Who let this happen?)