When Martin Brodeur began his third period collapse in Monday night’s shootout loss to the Edmonton Oilers, Cory Schneider's job on Tuesday night became a little more significant. Depending on how Schneider handles the situation, Pete DeBoer’s job could become increasingly difficult.
Coming into the season the Devils were confident with their goaltending tandem. Their number one goalie is the winningest goaltender in the National Hockey League and his backup has proven he has what it takes to become the future of the Devils franchise.
Schneider debuted for the Devils in Pittsburgh where he posted a 3.00 GAA in a 3-0 loss to the Penguins.Martin Brodeur followed it up by establishing an unimpressive 3.24 GAA of his own in two games following. The Devils are joined by the Buffalo Sabres and the Philadelphia Flyers are the only three teams in the East to go winless in their first three competitions.
Now the Devils will face the Vancouver Canuck is in the second of a back-to-back series in Western Canada as part of their five-game road trip and all eyes will be on Cory Schneider.
Before being traded to New Jersey last June, Schneider shared the goaltending duties with Luongo for five seasons. By his last season, the student became the teacher and Luongo watched on in his baseball hat as Schneider took over the crease. It was a long drawn out final year where the Canucks made it clear they would be dealing Luongo in favor of the younger goaltender, but a lack of suitors for the 34-year old meant eventually it would be Schneiders time to move on.
Roberto Luongo's problem is now Martin Brodeur's.
Tonight, Luongo will be watching Schneider from a different position. It will be the former Canuck in goal for New Jersey with Luongo opposite of him for Vancouver with the Devils first win and a possible promotion on the line.
It’s too early to make major changes regarding the Devils personnel,however if Cory Schneider is able to put on a performance and clinch a win for the Devils, putting him back to work Friday night would be a move DeBoer would have to make. Regardless of how difficult it would be.
Choosing your goaltender is typically easy. You go with the hot hand. The guy that can steal you a win with his late-in-the-game glove saves and flashes of brilliance. That choice though becomes more difficult if the brilliance is coming from your heir apparent and not your incumbent.
Brodeur has one year left on his contract that takes him to the end of this season and it’s assumed at that time the goalie that backstopped the Devils to their only three Stanley Cups will be done. But there is no way that one of the best to ever play the game wants to end his career riding the pine.
Like all soap operas, the one surrounding Cory Schneider doesn’t seem to end and an outstanding performance tonight could mean the plot thickens.
Whether it becomes a difficult relationship for the Devils to maintain between DeBoer, Schneider and Brodeur is yet to be seen. However, if things do heat up it would only be because the Devils are doing well.
And that’s something everyone should agree to be happy about.
Catch all the action tonight at 10:00 PM on NHL Network, MSG+ or listen on Sports Radio 66 AM & 101.9 FM WFAN