Welcome to our series on who wore each number best for the Penguins.
The idea is being openly borrowed from our new hockey writer, Cody Tucker, and his project at the Lansing State Journal covering all the uniform numbers worn through Michigan State football history, one that’s been well received by their readers and prompted heavy discussion and debate.
Under my organization, and following the voting of a big chunk of our staff, we’ll publish one new one each day until completion, which should be right around the start of training camp.
Name: Martin Brochu
Born: March 10, 1973, in Anjou, Quebec
Seasons with Penguins: 2004
Statistics with Penguins: One game, .947 save percentage, 1.84 goals against average in regular season
[caption id="attachment_677810" align="aligncenter" width="400"] Martin Brochu. -- PITTSBURGH PENGUINS[/caption]
Yesterday, subscriber Emmet Mahon joked that we were approaching "Who Wore It. Period" territory with this feature, since these middle numbers have such low circulation. For the first time, that's the case, as only one player has ever worn No. 50 for the Penguins. And he wore it for one game. Well, half a game.
Going into this feature, we knew that some numbers would be this way. Not every number has housed a star. Personally, I like hearing about the lesser-known players in Penguins history.
With that, let's take a look at Brochu.
He had spent the majority of his career from 1992-2002 playing in the AHL. He played one season as a backup in Russia with the Severstal Cherepovets before the Penguins signed him in July 2003.
The Penguins' 2003-04 season was just awful. Marc-Andre Fleury made his debut that year, but was returned to his junior team, the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles after 22 games. Sebastien Caron was then the starting goaltender, with J-S Aubin backing up. Andy Chiodo made eight appearances in net later in the season, including the February game in Phoenix when the Penguins snapped an 18-game losing streak.
Aubin sprained his knee in March, causing him to miss three games. The Penguins, wanting Chiodo to continue his strong season in Wilkes-Barre, and having nothing to play for themselves at that point, gave Brochu (who had been splitting time between Wilkes-Barre and Wheeling) the call to back up Caron.
The Penguins were in New Jersey on March 17, and Caron got the start. Eight minutes into the second period, Caron allowed his fifth goal of the game and was yanked.
Enter Brochu. He played the remaining 32 minutes of the game, and made 18 saves on 19 shots, allowing only a goal from Viktor Kozlov 27 seconds into his appearance. The Penguins lost 6-1.
Aubin returned from injury two days later, and Brochu was re-assigned to the AHL. Wilkes-Barre had a strong playoff run, but was ultimately swept by Milwaukee in the Calder Cup Final.
Brochu spent the next three seasons playing in the semi-pro Ligue Nord-Américaine de Hockey before retiring due to a back injury.
WHAT’S HE DOING NOW?
[caption id="attachment_677812" align="aligncenter" width="640"] Martin Brochu. -- JOEL BOUCHARD HOCKEY ACADEMY[/caption]
These days, Brochu is the general manager and goaltending coach of the Joel Bouchard Hockey Academy, a Quebec-based hockey school owned by former NHL defenseman and current Laval Rocket head coach Bouchard, also a former Penguins defenseman.
The Portland Pirates, a former AHL team, inducted Brochu into their Hall of Fame.
IT WAS SPOKEN
"I thought he looked comfortable after he gave up the first goal. I thought he handled himself fine." -- Penguin coach Ed Olczyk, commenting on Brochu's debut
HONORABLE MENTIONS AT NO. 50
There are literally no other options.
Tomorrow: I have No. 51.
Yesterday: Brian Gibbons
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