It's a scary thought.
Not just for Devils' fans, but for hockey fans altogether, the thought of Martin Brodeur no longer being in the National Hockey league is a weird, unfamiliar and unlikeable thought.
OK, maybe just for Devils fans.
The man who has won over the NHL over the past 16+ years, including three Stanley Cups, four Vezina trophies, 10 all-star game appearances, and a Calder Memorial Trophy.
Quite frankly, the list goes on and on.
Now, in his 19th season with the Devils, Brodeur, the man who holds the all-time records for wins and shutouts, has seen split time with Johan Hedberg, who is just a year younger than him, at age 38.
It's tough to accept, but times are changing in New Jersey, and sooner rather than later, number 30 will be in the rafters and no longer standing in front of a trapezoid that was created because of him.
In last night's loss to the Rangers, things weren't right. On the Rangers insurance goal in the third period, Carl Hagelin beat Brodeur short-side, short-handed on a 2-on-1. For years, Brodeur specialized in plays like this: defensemen takes away the pass, he shows glove side, and steals a goal away from a forward.
Now, that simply isn't what's going on anymore.
Certainly, Brodeur still has a lot of talent, more than most goalies wish they have, for sure. In a shootout win last week against Florida, Brodeur was spectacular, stealing a goal from Kris Versteeg -- after he scored the lone two Florida goals in regulation. Still, it's games like last night -- and a ton last season -- where the Devils have needed Brodeur to steal games, but he hasn't been able to do it.
Fans need to face the facts. He isn't a young guy anymore. He isn't in his late 20's and early 30's like he was when he lead the Devils to Stanley Cups. He's 39, much more injury prone as he has missed time in each of the last three seasons with injuries, and he doesn't have the stamina to play 80 regular season games a year.
Earlier this season, Brodeur noted to the media that it could, without question, be his last season. Now, it's time for everyone to jump on board with Brodeur. No one will be forcing him, into or out of, retirement. He will know when the time comes. Certainly, he would like to win one more Stanley Cup in New Jersey, but, until June rolls around, no one will truly know when his final game in red and black is.