It has been announced that Martin Brodeur will be between the pipes for Sunday's game at Yankee Stadium.
The way Cory Schneider has been playing of late, from a sheer numbers standpoint, it would have made sense to give him the nod. Those numbers are exactly why Brodeur should be starting.
As the Devils head into the stretch run of the season with a playoff spot right in their sights, it needs to be Schneider playing the majority of the way as long as he continues to play at the same level.
The old saying, if you have two goalies, you really have none, is true in a sense. If neither goaltender is playing well enough to take the job, then you're without a real number one netminder. Look at the St. Louis Blues for example. Great team, but neither Jaroslav Halak or Brian Elliot have been able to completely wrestle away the job.
Even when asked about who the starter should be, prior to the announcement, Schneider was quick to praise Brodeur.
"It's a pretty special game and Marty's been a big part of this and gotten a lot of wins for us this year and whether he picks him or me i don't think it changes the way we feel about it or how we play, I think we both trust each other and respect the way we're playing," Schneider told the media after Friday night's win over the Capitals. "This is a game that would mean a lot to Marty, having never played an outdoor game in his career and i'm sure he would really enjoy it."
Both goaltenders have been eloquent and supportive when asked about each other and because of that, an entire "goalie controversy" never happened. Even when one was outplaying the other, the team and both netminders stayed the course and had nothing but positive things to say about each other. That peaceful coexistence certainly helped to keep things together when the team was struggling early on in the season.
Now, as they inch towards the playoffs, they need to do so on the back of one of the goalies. Right now, the numbers say that it is Schneider.
Not to say that Brodeur hasn't been playing well, because he has had some brilliant moments this season, but Schneider's numbers are among the league's best. Among goaltenders who have enough stats to qualify, Schneider's 1.84 goals against average is second best in the league and his .928 save percentage ranks fourth.
Cory Schneider is becoming the number-one goaltender on this team. Sure, things can still change between now and the end of the season, but the former Vancouver Canuck has played more than well enough to establish himself as the man moving forward.
If this was any other veteran goaltender behind him, it would be no big deal, but it's Martin Brodeur. The outdoor game serves as perhaps Brodeur's last big moment of his career. He'll get to play in front of 40,000-plus and on national television. With the area basketball teams struggling, this is one of the biggest moments for New York area sports this winter. No. 30 needs to start this game, there is no other way.
Sunday's game against the Rangers can be one final moment to revel in the play of the greatest and most decorated goaltender in NHL history. Brodeur's accomplishments and decades of service, serve as the reasons why he should start. He has been the face of the franchise for years and with the entire NHL and tri-state area looking on, it has to be Brodeur showing what he can do one last time with the bright lights on him. He has earned that opportunity, even with the strong play of No. 35.
By the time that Brodeur skates off of the Yankee Stadium ice on Sunday afternoon, this might be Schneider's team. But that's okay. One of the classiest men in hockey may soon show us that he's able to valiantly pass the torch if needed.