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DEVIL REPORT

Brodeur Finds Fluke Goal Was Child's Play

June 03, 2003|Jerry Crowe | Times Staff Writer

It was bad enough that Martin Brodeur had to endure snickering from teammates and a derisive chant from a sellout crowd Saturday after giving up a comical, fluke goal in the New Jersey Devils' 3-2 overtime loss to the Mighty Ducks.

What was worse, the Devil goaltender said Monday before Game 4 of the Stanley Cup finals, was encountering a young know-it-all critic afterward who not only told him how he should have played the puck on Sandis Ozolinsh's second-period dump-in but also got down on the floor to demonstrate.

In front of family and friends in a hallway outside the visitors' dressing room, underneath the stands at the Arrowhead Pond, 6-year-old Jeremy Brodeur dropped to his knees and implored his embarrassed father to listen.

"They're so flexible at that age," Brodeur said, "and he went right down and said, 'Daddy, if you'd just gone down in the butterfly.' He's down in the hallway and he's saying, 'It's going to hit you and it's going to go right into the corner.'

"I'm like, 'I know, I know.' It was funny. He's doing it in front of everybody and I'm going, 'OK, get up there. Get up.' "

Brodeur's stick slipped out of his hands on the play and as he bent down to retrieve it, the puck glanced off him and into the net.

*

Coach Pat Burns said that the Devils, who have struggled on faceoffs, might just have to accept the Ducks' dominance on draws.

"You have to work around things," Burns said. "We can't invent a top faceoff guy right now, going into Game 4 of the finals of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

"Our [minor league] team in Albany's been eliminated for a long time. Am I going to call a kid back who's been fishing somewhere and say, 'You want to come back and take some big draws in Game 4?' You can't do that. You have to work around it and we will. We'll be fine."

The Devils, after winning 37% of the faceoffs in Game 3, won 38% in Game 4.

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Burns indicated that injured forwards Joe Nieuwendyk and Turner Stevenson, who have not played in the series, could be available for Game 5 in New Jersey on Thursday.

"I guess things are going pretty good," he said. "That's the last report I got."

Neither had resumed skating as of Monday morning, he said.

*

Rookie winger Michael Rupp made his NHL playoff debut for the Devils in Game 4, replacing Jim McKenzie in the only lineup change from Game 3.

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