For the first time in forever, Martin Brodeur was the subject of trade talks as the 3 PM ET deadline on March 5 rolled nearer. Despite the fact that Brodeur was not moved, it is becoming increasingly apparent that the consistent winner is slowly bowing out.
As much as it pains me and the rest of the Devils Army to say, Martin Brodeur is on his last legs. While he will likely retire a member of the red, white and black, Brodeur no longer has the same pep in his step as he did when entering the league as a 19-year-old wonder. His 41-year-old age is showing. His 21-year NHL mileage is being exposed. He’s not the same anymore.
But, even though the day he hangs ‘em up is inevitably close, it doesn’t mean that we can forget about Brodeur and the things that he has done for New Jersey and and the National Hockey League.
Because, far too often, we (as Devils’ fans) take Brodeur’s greatness for granted. However, we often forget that Brodeur that took New Jersey from a ridiculed NHL-newcomer to a venerated Stanley Cup Champion three times over. We often forget that Brodeur made every game must-watch television. We often forget that Brodeur revolutionized the way young goaltenders played the position. But, most importantly, we forget that Brodeur did it the right way. Brodeur was never in the news for bad reasons. Brodeur never received a negative word from teammates. Brodeur never put himself in a vulnerable position.
Think of it this way: How many goaltenders grew up emulating Brodeur’s legendary stacked-pad save? His lightning-quick glove? His precision with the puck (think about how much he could have dominated if the NHL didn’t create the trapezoid)? Think about how different the New Jersey Devils would be if Brodeur didn’t come around in ’93. Would they have won in 1995? Or 2000? Or 2003? Heck, would they even be in New Jersey if Brodeur didn’t come around when he did?
Maybe it sounds like I’m gushing over Brodeur. But, if there is someone that deserves a tribute (albeit as small as this one), it’s number 30.
In one of the last seasons of Martin Brodeur, let’s be happy he is wearing our colors.