NEW YORK (WFAN) — The Stanley Cup is coming back to New Jersey.
The Devils will honor the 20th anniversary of the franchise’s first Stanley Cup championship this weekend, with an alumni game on Saturday followed by a ceremony prior to Sunday’s game against the Philadelphia Flyers.
Future Hall of Famer Martin Brodeur spoke to WFAN’s Mike Francesa about the 1994-95 team on Thursday.
“The first (championship) is always something you remember the most,” Brodeur said. “All of them have special meaning for me, but the first one is pretty great. If I had never played another game after winning the Stanley Cup I would have been all right with it.”
Brodeur, who owns every major NHL goaltending record, led the Devils to three championships during his 21 years with the organization, but said the first one was born from a very memorable failure.
“We had a great run in ’94 that came up a little short against the Rangers,” Brodeur said. “So for us to go back at it the following year, be able to close the deal and win a Stanley Cup was pretty interesting and something you remember all your life.”
Brodeur said the loss to the Rangers in the Eastern Conference finals provided the Devils with the motivation and know-how needed to become champions.
“It was a big learning curve for our organization. I think we had never been that far in the playoffs before and so for us to seal it, go to the conference finals, go all the way to Game 7, extending it to overtime, we learned a lot from it. We lost, but I think we gained a lot by playing that series,” Brodeur said.
Brodeur took time off after the Devils informed him they would not be bringing him back this season. He eventually signed on with the St. Louis Blues, playing in seven games before retiring in January. He told Francesa he needed to play just a little more following the split with the Devils.
“I think I just enjoyed the game again,” Brodeur said. “I had a blast in St Louis but when I found out that my playing time was really going to be diminished, I said you know what, I might as well leave while I’m happy, and that’s how I went about it.”
Brodeur said the Devils enjoyed a long run of success because they never strayed from the on-ice blueprint installed by former coach Jacques Lemaire back in 1993. He said the secret to his individual longevity was simple.
“The love of the game. I really enjoyed playing the game every day. I never took anything for granted. The trust of the organization was another thing. They felt I was their guy for so many years,” Brodeur said.
To hear Brodeur’s complete interview, please click on the audio link below: