Cory Schneider is the New Jersey Devils‘ best goalie right now. He currently has a 1.84 goals against average, which is second in the NHL, and he also has a .928 save percentage, good enough for fourth in the league. He has been even better in the month of January, allowing eight goals in seven games with a .960 save percentage. He has done everything right to be able to be the Devils’ starter for the Stadium Series.
But that doesn’t matter; this game is bigger than that. I understand that at the end of the year it will go down as one game, win or lose, but this is so much bigger than that for this franchise. Martin Brodeur has given everything to this team over the last 20 years. He has brought three Stanley Cups and five Prince of Wales trophies to New Jersey’s only current team. He means everything to this franchise. You have to start him in what could be the team’s only ever outdoor game.
Will there be those who question the decision? Of course there will be, but it isn’t like Brodeur has been bad this year. His 2.36 GAA is still 13th in the league. He has shown that even at 41-years-old he can still play with the best of them. On top of that, Brodeur is 2-0 against the New York Rangers — the Devils’ Stadium Series opponent on Sunday — this season.
Brodeur revels in these big game situations. He loves it when the spotlight is on him. It seems like every time a Devils game is nationally televised he brings that extra gear. He has 205 postseason games on his resume, and he has won most of them. He holds the record for most playoff shutouts, and he knows what it is like to play when the lights are shining brightest.
Schneider has not proved he can play when everyone is watching. He only has ten postseason appearances and one win. That isn’t to say that you should doubt whether Schneider would be able to do it, but since you are going to go with the sentimental choice at least there are statistics to back it up.
There was no choice in this no matter what Peter DeBoer said. You have to go with the franchise — and NHL — leader in nearly every category. He deserves this opportunity to play in the biggest regular season game in franchise history.