I'll be the first to say, I didn't think it would feel like this. I thought I would dread the thought of Martin Brodeur in another team's sweater. The trade rumors that flew aimlessly around during last year's trade deadline were nauseating. This is different though. I am actually glad Brodeur is back in the NHL. The fact is, Marty couldn't stay in New Jersey. Not if the Devils' wanted to make the best move for the future of franchise; signing Cory Schneider to a long term deal. This wasn't Marty forcing himself out the door. This was both sides coming to a mutual understanding. Marty, being the competitor that he is, didn't want to play second fiddle in his own city. Completely understandable. So I wish him the best of luck. I hope he gets to 700 wins, though I can't tell you how much I disagree with that being his primary motivation. I hope he gets himself a 4th Stanley Cup. I hope he is able to continue to play as long as his talent, his body, and his competitive spirit let him.
Martin Brodeur is still in the NHL for one reason and one reason only. He loves to play hockey. He has spent the the last two decades playing goaltender at the highest level of the sport. He has the numbers. He has the records. He has the personal accolades. He has the championships. He is simply playing because he has the ability and the drive to continue to do so. No concept of a 'ruined legacy' is going to stop him from playing as long as he possibly can. Who is to tell him he can't? Or shouldn't? You know the type of players in professional sports that have 'ruined legacies'? The type that have actually developed a legacy through commitment to excellence. Brodeur has earned the right to play as long as he so chooses.
No one questions the legacy of Michael Jordan, or Emmitt Smith, or Jerry Rice. They all played long after they were still at the top of their sport. Does anyone think their legacy is ruined? Look back at their careers. Pick a few moments you remember. Emmitt putting up over 200 all purpose yards with a separated shoulder. Jerry Rice catching 5 touchdowns in a single game. Jordan hanging in the air to make a game winning jumper against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
If a legacy is what you are remembered for then surely Marty won't be remembered for a short stint with the St. Louis Blues. He will be remembered for backstopping the underdogs Devils to a championship sweep over the Detroit Red Wings in just his second year as a starting goalie. He will be remembered for having 3 shutouts in a Stanley Cup Finals series. He will be remembered for the countless unorthodox saves and his revolutionary ability to play the puck. He will be remembered as one the greatest goaltenders ever to play the game. And last but not least, he will be remembered as the face of the New Jersey Devils.
Let him play out his career as he sees fit. In a year where the Devils won't likely be making much noise in the playoffs I hope I have the pleasure of watching him play meaningful hockey games. After all, that's where his legacy was born. He is still one of the most entertaining goalies to watch play the sport. Anyone that thinks Marty is back in the NHL strictly to win 20-something games and get to 700 victories underestimates the passion and competitive fire necessary to even come within sniffing distance of that mark.
P.S. This helmet needs to find the nearest fire IMMEDIATELY.