It is said that a picture says a thousand words.
One can only begin to imagine eloquent prose that the timeless images of Denis Brodeur express.
Yesterday, the hockey world lost a true legend with the passing of Brodeur, the father of Martin, at the age of 82.
As a photographer for the Montreal Canadiens during their glory years, Denis captured some of the most timeless images in NHL history, photographing countless hall-of-fame players.
My father, Jim Turner, was the Devils team photographer from 1987-1995. He shared some of his memories of Denis, who would frequent the Meadowlands early on in Martin’s career.
“Denis came to one of the first games that Marty ever played in and Marty introduced me to him and said to take care of him, so I had Denis sit next to me in the photographer’s box that was next to the Devils bench. Denis would always say that he didn’t want to make Martin nervous, so he didn’t bring a camera to the first few games, but I always said that Martin was too cool to ever be nervous,” he said.
Little did they both know that two decades later, Martin would be the considered one of the best goaltenders in NHL history.
“I had taken some pictures of Martin that I had mailed to him and in return he sent me a picture back,” my dad said. “When I opened it up, it was a black and white signed picture of Maurice Richard with the Conn-Smythe trophy. It was his way of saying thank you, and it is something that I still cherish today.”
Today, in the world of speedy digital cameras and well-lit arenas, photography is vastly different than it was when photographers were shooting with available light in poorly lit arenas. Back when the elder Brodeur manned a camera, film had to be developed the next day, and when strobe lights were finally implemented, you weren’t able to just hold the shutter and create multiple images in a row — you had to be much more precise.
That’s what makes the images of Denis Brodeur that much more impressive. In 2006, the Montreal native sold his entire library of over 110,000 images, spanning over 40 years, to the NHL. That move ensures that his work will live on forever.
My father also recalled the kindness of Denis during the Devils Stanley Cup Run in 1995. Of course, as the Montreal team photographer, Denis was part of many cup-winning celebrations, so he knew to soak in the moment.
“Denis made it a point to get me to be involved in the celebration when the Devils won the Eastern Conference and he sat me down with Martin and Prince of Wales trophy and took my camera and took a picture of us with the trophy, that’s a memory that I cherish,” he said. “After they won they won the Stanley Cup, he made it a point that I was in the locker room and he put me over with Martin and we both drank from the Stanley Cup. That was quite a moment.”
That sort of kindness exemplifies the character of the former Team Canada goalie, who won a bronze medal in the 1956 Olympics.
“He was really proud of Martin and Martin was really proud of him. I went to Martin’s apartment to photograph his mask for a project and sitting on his coffee table were some of Denis’s books full of photographs and Martin couldn’t wait to show them to me. He was just as proud of his dad as his dad was of him,” added Turner.
There’s no doubt that the entire Brodeur family is immensely proud of the legacy that Denis leaves behind. His work has made an immeasurable contribution to the history of the National Hockey League.
Through those images and the countless people who’s lives he has impacted, the legacy of Denis Brodeur will live on, eternally.
I have spent more than my fair share of time talking about the Devils’ slow starts, but yesterday the fine folks over at In Lou We Trust broke down the Devils’ five first periods of this season. It’s definitely worth a read, so I wanted to pass it on. READ
Rich Chere of The Star-Ledger asks if the Devils are a better team this year than the one that made a run to last year’s Stanley Cup finals — and he makes a fairly compelling argument with support from Pete DeBoer. READ
Hockey’s back and that’s all well and good, but we know this shortened season won’t be anything close to perfect. Dave D’Alessandro of The Star-Ledger makes that very point so poignantly in his column today that I highly recommend you read it. READ
Hey NHL teams, want to know how to win fans back after the lockout? Take a look at what the Senators are doing — giving away free beer to fans who come to the season opener. Seriously. READ
I was planning on writing a long piece outlining the pros and cons of Travis Zajac’s new deal and how it affects the Devils and their cap structure going forward, but then I read this piece from the always fantastic blog In Lou We Trust and I realized I would be speaking vain. I very much believe in giving credit where credit is due and this, sir, deserves a lot of credit. READ
Everyone remembers Patrik Elias’ short-lived stint as Devils captain. It was ugly and it ended with his coach stripping the “C” from his sweater. This time around, with the Devils needing someone to replace Zach Parise, Elias, who is entering the final year of his contract, talks about that experience, who he thinks will be the captain this year and what he sees happening after his contract ends. READ
In a move that is utterly brilliant and makes me feel incredibly old, Stefan Matteau is lockering next to Martin Brodeur in training camp this year. Tom Gulitti of The Record spoke to Matteau (yes, he is the son of the infamous Stephane Matteau) about sitting next to Brodeur and what he can learn from him. READ
Here is a great article that really compares the two goaltenders. Both are great in their own right but in the article it really favors the 40 year old goaltender Martin Brodeur with great evidence. Definitely check it out here.
As the Devils finished off the Philadelphia Flyers I had thought about the beginning of this series and I thought that the Devils were going to be steam rolled by a very physical Flyers team. Since the Flyers had run over the Pittsburgh Penguins with some what of ease, I thought worse for the Devils since they barely could get passed the Florida Panthers. Five games later I was proved wrong and boy was I glad to be wrong.
The personality of coach Pete DeBoer really came through against the Flyers that really has not been seen in New Jersey in quite some time. He is a tough coach to read. The Devils were a tough team to read for the Flyers as they would try to break into the Devils’ zone but would be caught in the neutral zone making it impossible to generate any offense. DeBoer always has a calm look on his face. The Flyers would try to pull the Devils into their game of getting the Devils to play agitated hockey but they had nothing of it. They played whistle to whistle and level headed which didn’t get them into penalty trouble. DeBoer wanted to bring a more offensive style of hockey to a defensive driven team. The Devils had the right mix of offense (scoring at least 3 goals a game in the series) and defense (allowing 11 goals over the 5 games). But what really separates this Devils team from prior playoff teams is the fact the Devils were able to establish a forecheck that I had never seen before. Their forecheck was relentless against a physical Flyers team which ultimately lead to the demise of the Flyers.
You really have to give a ton of credit to coach Pete DeBoer but the job isn’t done yet. They will have to either play the Rangers or the Capitals in the EAstern Conference Finals. Either team won’t be an easy task but if the Devils can continue their great mix of offense and constraining defense they could be making their 5th trip to the Stanley Cup Finals.