Brodeur remains calm and confident going into Game 5

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Brodeur remains calm and confident going into Game 5

NEWARK, N.J. Martin Brodeur stood atop a podium in the Devils locker room, surrounded, of course, by a media throng. Hes been here, done this so many times, and yet his attitude always remains unflappable.

Im enjoying this ride, said Brodeur on Friday, which was also his sons birthday. Defintely, Id like to have a little more success in the finals here. Were still alive, still looking to create that success and win again.

Part of the Devils Game 4 success came because of their work at the other end, as they finally got to Los Angeles goaltender Jonathan Quick. But it also had to do with the calm presence of the Devils own netminder.

Whether facing the media or facing an elimination game, Brodeurs demeanor seems to remain the same: stoic, steady, serene. Its a calm that resonates through the Devils locker room; and its one that his teammates feed off, especially facing a 3-1 deficit and elimination when they host the Los Angeles Kings here in Game 5 tomorrow night.

We feed off his composure, Devils coach Pete DeBoer said. He handles the puck so much, he has so many touches. He does it so effortlessly and without any panic in his game. And that has a real calming influence on our entire team. Theres very few moments when the pucks in your own end or around your net because of his composure.

No, theres no doubt that Brodeur is the master puck-handling goaltender. Veteran defenseman Bryce Salvador joked that when Brodeur does finally retire, my jobs going to be that much harder. But Brodeurs influence goes well beyond his job as the Devils third defenseman.

Everyone talks about the great games and that part of his character. But what I always see in him is the games hes not good and how he responds the next game, Salvador said. If he has a game where he shouldve had one or saved this one, the next game hes the best player. It shows how resolved his mind is; he doesnt worry about those mistakes. I think thats what defines a true winner and leader is his ability to overcome adversity and hes a guy who pulls everyone else out of it.

Yes, itll take more than Brodeur for the Devils to overcome this 3-1 deficit. And theyve got more confidence heading into Game 5, thanks to getting the bounces and that victory in Los Angeles. But having a presence like Brodeur is always a bonus, and a good presence to look to when things get tough.

Hes been there before and knows what it takes. We feel pretty comfortable with him in the net, the way he handles pucks and makes timely saves. Hes a competitor; he wants to win, said Travis Zajac, who added Brodeur will talk to teammates during intermissions, if need be. Its not often but when he does, you listen.

Brodeur has never wavered in his career. All that hes won, be it individual or team, has not quelled the competitive fire. If anything else its bolstered it. But he remains calm on the surface, in and out of the game. In both areas, its helped the Devils tremendously.

You have a guy who holds every record and has won everything and still has the passion to win at this point in his career, and if you ask him he still feels he can play next year and the year after and the year after, Salvador said. That alone is uplifting.

White Sox Minor League Report: Micker Adolfo tapping into power potential

White Sox Minor League Report: Micker Adolfo tapping into power potential

As part of a weekly series, presented by Ozinga, CSNChicago.com will highlight the top performances of several prospects in a weekly minor league report.

White Sox Blueprint Player of the Week: Micker Adolfo (OF), Kannapolis Intimidators

The White Sox are finally seeing the player they envisioned when they signed the No. 2 ranked international prospect in 2013.

As he still grows into his 6-foot-3, 200-pound frame, Micker Adolfo has put his power potential on display in Kannapolis this season.

Adolfo has been on a tear throughout his last 10 games as he's hit .368 to go along with three home runs, seven RBI and four walks. 

On the season, Adolfo is slashing .286/.347/.493 and has already set career-highs in several categories, including home runs (8), RBI (35), hits (65), doubles (21) and runs (37).

Charlotte Knights

It looks like that nagging thumb injury is finally behind MLB's No. 1 prospect.

In his last 10 games at Charlotte, Moncada is batting .282 with a home run, six RBI and a stolen base. Moncada has also shown an impressive eye at the plate during that span, as he had a 12/11 BB/K ratio.

Birmingham Barons

It's spelled trouble for opposing hitters when Jordan Stephens has been on the mound in 2017.

The Texas-native has started three games since coming off the DL and carries an 0.98 ERA with 15 strikeouts in 18.1 innings pitched.

Stephens is currently MLB Pipeline's No. 14 White Sox prospect.

[VIVID SEATS: Get your White Sox tickets here]

Winston-Salem Dash

After a slow start following a promotion to Winston-Salem, the forgotten piece from the Washington Nationals in the Adam Eaton trade has been on a tear.

In three June starts, Dane Dunning has allowed just three earned runs on 13 hits and has 23 strikeouts in 17.2 innings pitched.

DSL White Sox

Although he hasn't homered since his first game in the Dominican Summer League, Cuban outfielder Luis Robert has shown tremendous discipline in the batter's box. 

Robert has averaged one walk per game and has a .258 batting average in 10 games. He's also added four stolen bases on the season.

Great Falls Voyagers

A pair of players from the White Sox 2016 draft class have gotten off to hot starts in the Rookie League.

Anthony Villa, a 19th rounder out of St. Mary's, has a robust 1.777 OPS in his first four games and has belted two home runs and six RBI.

Infielder Luis Curbello, a sixth-round selection out of Cocoa High School in Florida, has a .429/.529/.714 slash line with a home run and two RBI.

What to make of Blackhawks blockbuster deals

What to make of Blackhawks blockbuster deals

Before the clock struck noon on a day Chicago was hosting its first ever NHL Draft, Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman sent shockwaves throughout the city and hockey world by completing a pair of blockbuster trades within an hour of each other.

The first was dealing three-time Stanley Cup-winning defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson to Arizona, and the second involving Artemi Panarin and Brandon Saad in a swap of talented wingers with Columbus.

This comes two days after the Blackhawks announced Marian Hossa will miss the 2017-18 campaign with a progressive skin disorder. That's three core players gone in the blink of an eye.

Who's ready for a new era in Chicago?

Rather than maximizing a championship window that was viewed as closing quickly, Bowman has elected to take a long-term approach and it might not be the worst idea.

There's no doubt the loss of Hjalmarsson, who remains one of the most underrated blue liners in the league, and Panarin, who finished in the top-10 in scoring among forwards in both of his first two NHL seasons, will sting.

But there's a good chance the Blackhawks wouldn't have been able to reward them with the pay raises they deserve after their contracts expire following the 2018-19 season, and that certainly played a huge role in the decision to head in a new direction.

In reacquiring Saad, the Blackhawks finally give Jonathan Toews that reliable left-winger they've desperately lacked since Saad was shipped out of town in 2015, providing balance throughout the top-six. Saad is also locked up for the next four years at a $6 million cap hit that will look better as time goes by.

For the last two years, the Blackhawks were known as a one-line scoring team thanks to the chemistry developed between Patrick Kane and Panarin.

The second-half emergence of Nick Schmaltz and familiarity Kane has developed with center Artem Anisimov has allowed Panarin to become expendable in their quest to solve their top-line woes. And that's not a bad consolation line, especially when you consider top prospect Alex DeBrincat could also be in the cards as early as this season.

On the back end, the Blackhawks receive a 24-year-old defenseman in Connor Murphy, who's also signed for the next four years at a $3.85 million cap hit, and carries a right-handed shot, something they've needed more of in the organization. While there will certainly be growing pains under Joel Quenneville, Murphy's ceiling is fairly high and gives the Blackhawks some speed coming out of their own zone.

In making both of these deals, the Blackhawks got younger in their attempt to keep up with a league that relies more on speed, addressing a few areas that Nashville exposed during their first-round sweep of the 2017 Stanley Cup playoffs.

And while they may have sacrificed two key players in the short-term, the Blackhawks executed a plan that should keep the perceived championship window open longer than expected.