Sunday, April 13, 2014

You've Got to Fight. For Your Right. For MAR-TY

That title, if it didn't come across well, is a play on the title of the 1986 Beastie Boys single (You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party!), but with a twist to Marty Brodeur.

We've been through this drill once or twice before, but TODAY really really really really could be the last game as a New Jersey Devil for the Devils franchise goalie. I'm actually trying not to get choked up writing and thinking this.

I've got some scattered memories of the Devils going back to the late '80s in the years before Brodeur, but I've never followed the Devils on a day-to-day basis without Martin Brodeur being the goaltender. Sure there have been a couple of times when Marty was out with an injury, but we knew that eventually Marty would be, as a mother might say to a young child talking about a boo-boo, "all better" (giving rise to the chants of "Marty's Better"). Only during this season's trade deadline did the sudden and non-April reality come close to being a possibility that Martin Brodeur might soon no longer be a New Jersey Devil.

And here we are at today. The final game of the 2013-14 season. The Devils are missing the playoffs (for an un-Devil-like 2nd straight season). And with his contract up, with his playing time at an all-time low, and his skills seemingly diminished from his Hall of Fame career-prime, the reality sets in today that MARTIN BRODEUR COULD BE (AND VERY LIKELY IS) PLAYING HIS LAST GAME AS A NEW JERSEY DEVIL.

I think I would feel better about this situation if Marty had come out and said that he is retiring at season's end and doing it as a New Jersey Devil. But that's not necessarily going to be the case. Brodeur's contract with the Devils is up. But he still thinks he can play at a high level next season (everything I've heard talks about just one more season) and he wants to have more playing time than the split-season arrangement that he's had with Cory Schneider this season. And the consensus is that these things won't happen next season as a New Jersey Devil. He'll test the free agent market (he gave us quite a scare 2 years ago testing the market and then re-signing with New Jersey after 2 days).

I can't fathom seeing Brodeur in another NHL jersey next season. To quote Simpsons character Ralph Wiggum, "that's unpossible". I also don't think he has the skills left in his goalie pads to play well playing even as much as the half season he played this year with the Devils. That in itself is sad to think about. But I believe it and a lot of other Devils fans I've spoken with believe it too. But Marty still thinks he can go somewhere, play well, play more than he played this season, and make an impact. And I think someone needs sit him down and give him a good talking-to. Marty needs reality to set in over fantasy. Because I just don't think Marty is going to find what he's looking for. And sadly, he's not the best option for the New Jersey Devils after today either (and I think they know that).

So this can go down one of a couple ways
  1. Marty decides that this is it, go out a Devil, and don't test free agency (the preferred option)
  2. Marty tests the waters in free agency, and finds nothing to his liking, and retires (also acceptable when looking at his final hockey card)
  3. The Devils bring Brodeur back next season
  4. Marty finds a job somewhere else next season, and it turns out to be a bust, meanwhile tainting all of his career marks because they no longer happened in one uniform
  5. Marty finds what he's looking for with another team, and reaches the 700 win mark in another jersey (least desirable scenario)

But soon, the reality is going to set in MOST LIKELY going to be Martin Brodeur's last game as a member of the New Jersey Devils.

In 2011, I bought season tickets to the Devils, up in the balcony on the end where the Hall of Fame goalie defends the goal twice every night. And the big reason I did it, aside from the great price, was that I wanted to see the end of Brodeur's career, however long it may be, in person. I'm not saying I'll drop my tickets after next season (I'm already paid in full for 2014-15), or after "Marty Brodeur Night" when the number 30 is raised to the rafters (initially over the goal on the end at which I sit). But after today, that might be the next time we in the arena get to chant "MAR-TY, MAR-TY". Still sad to think about.

But for today...
  • (to the same beat as "Let's Go Devils") "Marty Legend"
  • "Mar-ty! Mar-ty!"
  • (to the tune of "We Love You Conrad" from Bye Bye Birdie) "We Love You Marty/Oh Yes We Do"
  • (as noted in the title of this post) "You've Got to Fight For Your Right For Mar-ty"
and whatever other chants you can all think of.

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