Twenty-year careers do not always age gracefully. Ray Bourque and John Elway bowed out at the perfect moment. Roger Clemens, Patrick Ewing, Shaq, and Jerry Rice didn’t listen to the Time/Space Continuum. Shaq’s career spiritually ended after the title in Miami and no one is going to remember a single team he tried out for after San Francisco. Thankfully, Ewing found coaching to give him a new light to stand in.
The second-greatest goalie in history has made it clear that he wants to be the next Patrick Ewing.
For the low-low cost of one 1st Round draft pick, Lou Lamoreillo ended a career that continues to refuse to die. Martin Brodeur was supplanted, in the long run, by Cory Schneider, former Thing 2 to Roberto Luongo’s Thing 1. His play behind a spotty Devils defense added shovels of dirt on the old man’s tenure in New Jersey. As graceful as he has been as a representative of both the Devils and hockey as a whole, Brodeur went public with his frustrations of playing time and his viability in the eyes of others. He knows the wheelbarrow is coming for it, he just doesn’t want to admit it.
Marty wants 50 games. His brain tells him he can play 61% of a full NHL schedule. His stats tell a different story. As his SV% free-falls, his GAA maintains at a “you don’t have anyone to score enough for you to be letting in 3 goals a game” mark. That’s not entirely his fault, the quilted-together defense and loss of anything close to scoring punch. He’s paid to stop goals from happening, not to create them. Frighteningly, his stats reflect 39 games played and under five of those was he pulled. He wouldn’t budge, he had to finish.
Why is he the second greatest? He had the defensemen, the system, and the modern game to reinforce the numbers. Patrick Roy had the firepower in front of him and faced 30 shots a night, Brodeur had four of the most efficient and effective defensemen in the perfect defensive system. And the Skills Competition.
Brodeur will not be a coveted free agent on July 1st. He will be a $3 VHS selection on August 1st. Who might take the gamble?
Montreal Canadiens – Go home? Modano did it. Claude Julien couldn’t bring himself to put in Peter Budaj for more than period of the playoffs. Near identical numbers, extreme ends of compensation, but Brodeur would bring the sentimental merchandising dollars the club doesn’t need. The heart is never logical. Carey Price can handle 65-70 games even after that knee injury. Probability – 5%
Washington Capitals – GM Brian MacLellan proudly stated Braden Holtby will be the #1, a vet #2, Philipp Grubbauer #3. Holtby has been screwed with by former coaches, both systemically and from being forced to play behind that awful defense, so having a mentor such as Marty behind him would be a welcoming sight. Holtby’s not going to give up the starts to accommodate Brodeur, again not fulfilling his desired quota. And it’s not like the Caps have the room to pay him. Probability – 10%
Pittsburgh Penguins – This rumor has been hanging around. It’s a joke, right? Why tarnish everything by going to a division rival? The interesting tide here is Marc-Andre Fleury; is he staying or going? If he stays, this French Connection in goal could work. If he goes, HAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Probability – 5%
Minnesota Wild – Two of his sons are playing prep hockey at Shattuck St. Mary’s. The Wild have huge questions around the health of Josh Harding and Niklas Backstrom. Ilya Bryzgalov is most likely not returning. But with their turn around year and known commodities (when healthy) in goal, do they bring on a goalie who is statistically below their current ones just so he can see his kids? Probability – 75%, only because this rumor won’t die
Toronto Maple Leafs – Start the carousel again! Sheriff Shanahan is in control and he needs to make a “This is my show now” move. Is Brodeur an improvement over Reimer? Only if it’s 2000 Brodeur. Shanny’s no idiot. His bosses are, but he isn’t. Probability – 2%
Vancouver Canucks – Unless they REALLY like goalie drama, no. Plus, how hilarious would it be to replace Schneider with Brodeur? Probability – 2%
New York Islanders – Garth Snow is still looking for a bac…..no. I’d take Garth…hell, I’d take Dunham before calling Brodeur to see if he wants to take in a movie. Probability – 0.0%