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Martin Brodeur: Fan response to jersey retirement 'as good as it gets'

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Melrose on Brodeur: When you get the rules changed, you're pretty special (0:56)

Barry Melrose reacts to the ceremony the Devils put on to honor former goalie Martin Brodeur and how much he admires Brodeur as a player. (0:56)

NEWARK, N.J. -- As he watched his No. 30 jersey banner get raised to the rafters at the Prudential Center, Martin Brodeur felt a sense of closure.

"You kind of look at it going up, and you think to yourself, 'This is it,'" Brodeur said afterward. "After that, I'm going to have to beg to get cheered like that."

Well, that's not entirely true.

After all, as the NHL's winningest goaltender, Brodeur has an all but inevitable Hall of Fame induction to look forward to come 2018.

Still, this was pretty special.

Before Tuesday night's 2-1 win over the Edmonton Oilers, the New Jersey Devils retired Brodeur's uniform number during a moving on-ice ceremony.

Brodeur, now the assistant general manager for the St. Louis Blues, was serenaded with chants of "Thank You Marty!" and "Marty's Better!" from the capacity crowd.

"The response from the fans was something special," said Brodeur, who gave a 10-minute speech, noting it was the first time he had ever felt nervous on the ice.

"This is as good as it gets. I played a lot of years and got to know these fans a lot throughout my career. That ovation, I expected it, I guess, a little bit. But I was overwhelmed."

A statue of Brodeur, which will be displayed outside the arena on Championship Plaza, was unveiled Monday.

Among the luminaries who attended the festivities were Lou Lamoriello, Jacques Lemaire, Jacques Caron, Scott Stevens, Ken Daneyko and Scott Niedermayer.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman was booed as he spoke about Brodeur, which prompted Lamoriello, who was serenaded with chants of "Louuuu!" to quip, "Commissioner, that's not the same reaction that you were getting."

"It's tough for Gary Bettman, but it comes with the territory," Brodeur said. "He knew right away. He joked, 'I'm taking a bullet for you. You know that.'"

Lamoriello, now the GM of the Toronto Maple Leafs, completed a nine-player blockbuster trade with the Ottawa Senators earlier Tuesday.

"I'm not surprised at all," Brodeur said with a chuckle. "[Lou's] always been business first."

"This is as good as it gets. I played a lot of years and got to know these fans a lot throughout my career. That ovation, I expected it, I guess, a little bit. But I was overwhelmed."

Former Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur

The Devils drafted Brodeur with the No. 20 overall pick in the first round of the 1990 NHL entry draft. He proceeded to play 21 seasons in New Jersey, racking up a Calder Memorial Trophy, three Stanley Cup championships, four Vezina Trophies and 10 All-Star appearances.

All of those trophies were on the ice for the ceremony.

Brodeur, now 43, holds several league records, including regular-season wins (691) and shutouts (125).

Several members of the organization repeatedly called him the greatest goaltender of all time.

"I'll take the title," Brodeur said, while noting there are so many greats who have played the position.

Perhaps none greater than he.