Devils, Brodeur prepare for the next chapter
It was a Sunday afternoon at the Prudential Center in Newark. The New Jersey Devils were hosting the Boston Bruins in the team’s final game of the 2013-14 regular season. The Devils had been eliminated from playoff contention three nights earlier, while the Bruins had safely punched their ticket to another playoff appearance, even electing to sit out some of its regulars in preparation. By all accounts, it was a meaningless game—a formality. But for many fans, it wasn’t about that game, it was about a career worth of games.
For over 20 season’s goaltender Martin Brodeur has been the backbone behind the Garden State’s only remaining professional sports franchise. He has helped the team win three Stanley Cups, the most recent coming in 2003. He is the all-time leader in regular season wins with 688 and shutouts with 124. All of this is not lost among the fans in attendance that April day using any stoppage in play to chant “Thank you Marty,” in what may have been his final game in professional hockey.
On Friday, the Devils will open camp, and for the first time in over two decades, Martin Brodeur will not be there. Instead, the 42-year-old will wait for the opportunity elsewhere. His agent says the future Hall-of-Famer is staying patient, even if that means staying unsigned heading into the regular season, which begins on October 8.
Many of the 16,592 fans who attended last season’s finale will return for the home opener on October 18, as they begin the post-Brodeur era in New Jersey.
So, as a fan, a nostalgic and a New Jerseyan, I will echo the same tune I did that April afternoon, “Thank You Marty!”