USA Today- Martin Brodeur will retire as a St. Louis Blues player and join their management team Thursday, but he will always be a New Jersey Devil.
He will be a Devil like Steve Yzerman was a Detroit Red Wing and Rocket Richard was a Montreal Canadien. When you remember the Devils' three Stanley Cup titles, you recall the contributions of Scott Stevens, Scott Niedermayer and others, but you see Brodeur as the face of the franchise.
At this point, I have said all I have to say about Martin Brodeur. A 3 time Stanley Cup winner. A 4 time Vezina Trophy winner. The most winningest goalie of all time, and it's not close. It would a tragic understatement to say that he only set the record for most shutouts, he demolished it. A man that revolutionized his position. A goaltender that was the closet thing to a 3rd defenseman that the sport has ever seen. A goalie whose passing ability changed the way teams had to play against them and was the main motivation behind one of the stupidest rule changes in sports history (the trapezoid). A man that had no other records left to break but his own.
Does his official retirement make me emotional? Not in the slightest. Seeing that update scroll across my computer screen evoked an apathetic reaction, if any at all. As soon as he pulled that vintage red, black, and white sweater over his head for the final time he was essentially retired in my eyes. I still rooted for him during his limited starts in St. Louis. I still enjoyed watching him play. But all things considered, the Marty Brodeur that turned a franchise that experienced limited success since it's outset into one of the most winningest franchises of the last 20 years was no more.
An athlete playing out his entire career with one team is an ideal that is as unattainable as it is rare. Don't get me wrong. I would have loved for Brodeur to have gone from Devils goaltender directly to a member of the Devils front office. I would also love a million dollars, and a threesome with Ariana Grande (is she legal yet?) and Scarlett Johansson. I know this may come as a shock to some people, but life isn't perfect. Relationships, especially of the professional variety, aren't perfect. Fact is Marty wanted to keep playing, and the Devils needed to move on and make Cory Schneider their starting goaltender. It was the right thing to do. He needed to know his future as the Devils main backstop was concrete before signing long term. Quite frankly, the frustration both goaltenders experienced sharing time last year was not good for the team dynamic. It only made sense to let Marty explore other options, as painful as it may have been for fans and franchise members alike.
Marty leaving the Devils is essentially breaking up with your high school sweetheart to see what else is out there. You still love each other, but after so much time, experiencing a little strange isn't the worst thing in the world. Is it weird to hear that he'll be joining the front office of the Blues to finish out this season? Yeah, absolutely. But that's all it is. Though it may feel like a slap in the face to the Devils' faithful, it is better that Marty gains experience as an executive before joining the shit show that currently is your New Jersey Devils. Regardless of how long the breakup lasts, everyone knows a marriage between himself and the Devils is imminent. At the end of the day, Marty will end up exactly where he belongs; Raising his jersey to the rafters in the state he has called home nearly half his life, and helping to run the franchise that he helped to resurrect. Through the eyes of someone that has laid witness to his career from start number one, I can say that Brodeur's legacy has not been tainted in the slightest. When the time comes, I can't wait to welcome him back.