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A Potential Good-Bye

A little earlier, this tweet was sent out:

And I double and triple checked to make sure it was a legit account and not just someone spreading the rumorrrrrrs through the league.  

So it seems Martin Brodeur’s tenure in the NHL is coming to an awkward, jaunted end.  Which is terribly unfortunate.  For those of us old enough, we understand the level at which he competed at game after game.  There was nothing worse than knowing Marty would be in net to face your team, his skill was unmatched.  Holding nearly every goalie record, Brodeur will go down in history.

Brodeur’s second week signals an exit on his own terms, still under contract he could leave the league as an active player instead of an Unrestricted Free Agent.  A player still considered desirable and serviceable.  But if you’re a recent hockey fan, you look at Brodeur play and you’re confused.  He’s a good goalie but certainly not one at the level he was, and it’s to be expected.  Brodeur is 42 years old.  

The kids growing up on the Devils now, and over the past five years will never have the same understanding of Brodeur as those who lived through those hellish years.  Of course there will always be highlights and YouTube clips and reruns of his greatest games.   And record books/web pages will stay with us through time but I speak from experience when I say, it won’t be the same.  

It’s safe to say we all know who Wayne Gretzky is, much like I think we all remember his retirement in 1999.  I was a young child.  Too young to remember his time as a LA King.  Not even alive for his Edmonton Oilers’ stint.  But I knew his impact, I understood he is “The Great One”.  Only, that’s it.  I never knew what it was like, and really understand, to have your team coming down the home stretch and know that in the last ten games, gunning for that playoff spot your guys have to face Gretzky twice.  He was one man, but he made that much of difference.  That fear, that excitement, that stress will never to captured by stats or game highlights.  

And that’s the fate Brodeur will face with young fans and new fans.  His accomplishments will never be forgotten but that terror of facing him or that confidence of seeing him between the pipes, will fade over the years.  It’s heartbreaking to know future fans will never understand those moments.  But that’s how the sport goes.

So for those of you who remember the reign of glory, hold on to those memories because if Brodeur chooses to come back after this hiatus or doesn’t we all know it won’t be the same and share those memories.  Brodeur deserves to be remember, to be talked about, and to be revered.  


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