The stalwart future Hall of Fame goaltender for the New Jersey Devils, Martin Brodeur, is celebrating his 41st birthday today! Unfortunately, his festivities will not include a playoff game as it did last year.
On May 6, 2012, the Devils won a convincing game three against their division rivals, the Philadelphia Flyers. Now, that’s a great way to mark your 40th! It would be a series sweep for New Jersey which would set up another Eastern Conference final with the dreaded New York Rangers. Turning 40 would be a good thing for Brodeur as the year started off with a fifth trip to the Stanley Cup Finals. What would have made it even better would have been a fourth ring, but that was not to be.
Last summer, Brodeur signed a two-year deal with the only club he has ever worn a uniform for. While this lockout shortened season ended on a sour note, the father of five says he is still enjoying the life and isn’t necessarily going to be hanging up his skates at the conclusion of his current contract.
“This year, even though we didn’t make the playoffs, I had a great time playing the game,” Brodeur said in an interview with The Star Ledger. “I really had a good time competing at the level I wanted to compete at. If it stays like that and I’m still having fun, who knows what it going to happen. So, I’m not putting a decision in my mind. Two or three years ago it was harder to make that decision. Now, we have a chance to win every game and the coaches make it fun to come to the rink.”
Surely, Brodeur doesn’t want to cap a stellar career without at least one more shot at Lord Stanley. However, usually when your children are becoming eligible for the draft, it might be time to consider retirement.
Broduer’s eldest son, Anthony has an outside chance of being picked in this summer’s 2013 NHL Entry Draft which will be held on the Devils’ home ice, the Prudential Center on June 30. He is finishing his senior year at the famed Minnesota hockey high, Shattuck St. Mary’s.
Yet, Marty still isn’t thinking along those lines even though he admits his body doesn’t react the same way as it did a few years ago.
“We’ll see how the body holds up. It’s getting harder and harder,” Brodeur mused in The Ledger. “I’m going to get there eventually. There’s no doubt about that. The key is people want you to be here. I’m not going to beg for a job, that’s for sure. But if somebody wants you here and you still like it, why not?”
Why not, indeed. The Devils’ woes this year were not goaltending related. Brodeur and Johan Hedberg both did their jobs, save an odd bad outing. It was the nonexistent offense that drove the nails into the Devils’ coffin.
If there ever was a player who deserved to finish his career where it started, here in the Garden State, it is Martin Brodeur. Though the time has come to begin to groom his heir apparent, whether that honor falls to prospects Keith Kinkaid, Jeff Frazee or someone else is up to General Manager Lou Lamoriello and the coaching staff to decide.
Clearly Brodeur still has something left to prove and Devils’ fans wouldn’t want it any other way.