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Brodeur on a high after record win

A CHAMPION, a winner, the gold standard for goaltending - Martin Brodeur was bathed in accolades within seconds of setting a new record for NHL netminders by notching his 552nd career victory on Tuesday.

Brodeur missed 50 games this season with a serious elbow injury and when he returned needed eight more wins to surpass his boyhood idol Patrick Roy on the all-time list.

The 36-year-old took just nine games to get it done.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman offered Brodeur the highest of praise after the Devils' 3-2 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks in front of an adoring home crowd.

"Martin Brodeur is the gold standard of goaltending ?? the model of character, consistency and commitment to the craft," Bettman said. "A champion. A winner above all.

"It is difficult to imagine any player who is more universally, and deservedly, respected. The National Hockey League is extremely proud of Martin, his historic achievement and his enduring contribution to our game."

Brodeur's wins have all come as a member of the New Jersey Devils and he helped them to three Stanley Cup titles.

"I think that his record and the success of the team with him just speaks for itself," Lou Lamoriello, president and general manager of the Devils, said.

"For me, the thing that is so impressive is that he has never changed since the day he put on the Devils uniform.

"His personality, the respect he has for his team mates and the respect they have for him. To me, that's what it's all about.

"As for the record, it's an understatement to say what an accomplishment it is. We're quite proud that he's done it with one team."

Patrik Elias, who assisted on New Jersey's third goal and set a milestone of his own as the Devils' all-time leading points scorer with 702, said he was happy to share a special night on the ice with Brodeur.

"I'm proud of being his team mate," the Czech said, "and sharing a lot of those wins with him along the way. I was very excited."

Denis Brodeur, the goalie's father and netminder for Canada when they took Olympic bronze in Cortina in 1956, hugged his son after the Devils celebrated in the crease.

The elder Brodeur was also on hand in Montreal on Saturday when his son tied the all-time wins record in his hometown against the Canadiens with Patrick Roy watching in the stands.

"I enjoyed this," father Brodeur said. "I thought Saturday night was a special night. But tonight, this was so memorable, so memorable.

"This was a special, special night. To see him cut the net and with all the players around him. I'm so glad for him because he worked hard.

"After he got hurt he was disappointed, but he worked hard to come back and the team are playing so well behind him. It is not just the goalie."

In other NHL action, it was: Capitals 3, Panthers 0; Red Wings 3, Flyers 2; Penguins 6, Thrashers 2; Rangers 4, Canadiens 3, SO; Maple Leafs 4, Lightning 3, SO; Wild 3, Avalanche 2, SO; Senators 4, Sabres 2; Oilers 2, Blues 1, SO; Coyotes 4, Sharks 3; and Canucks 4, Stars 2.


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