The New Jersey Devils played their last game of the 2013-14 season on Sunday when they welcomed the Boston Bruins to the Prudential Center. This could be the last time you see players like Marek Zidlicky, Steve Bernier, Jaromir Jagr, Stephen Gionta and Ryan Carter wearing the NJ on their sweater. Nobody in the arena cared about that.
The only thing anyone was thinking about was whether this was the last time they would see one of the greatest goaltenders of all time playing professional hockey. Martin Brodeur won his 688th game of his illustrious career. He is, and quite possible could forever be, the winningest goalie in the history of the sport.
The moment was inevitable, but it did not make it any less sad for Devils fans. The crowd stood up and cheered as the team came off the ice and gave number 30 a standing ovation.
If Brodeur does retire, he will have his first and last win against the Bruins. He won his first game back on March 26, 1992. More than 22 years later he is still winning games.
Brodeur holds the record for pretty much everything, including most regular season wins, most regular season shutouts, most postseason shutouts, most games played, best playoff GAA, most wins in a single season, most shutouts in a single postseason and much more. His stats are pretty much untouchable.
Brodeur carried the Devils to five Eastern Conference Championships and three Stanley Cup titles. His last finals appearance in 2012 showed he could still do it against the faster NHL. He played at a time when the league transitioned its entire game and was still elite. He endured when they introduced the shootout, becoming the goalie with the most all time wins (although this season did not help).
While many can have negative things to say about Brodeur’s game (most complain that he played in front of the trap or that he had Scott Stevens and Scott Niedermayer in front of him), nobody can argue that Brodeur was great. He came to the rink every night ready to play, and brought it on a nightly basis.
The interview after the game showed how much Brodeur loves this game. He called New Jersey his “home.” He is the kind of player you want suiting up for your team for more than two decades. If this is Brodeur’s final game, then he went out the way he should have, with a win against the best team in the East.
Nick Villano is the New Jersey Devils writer for Rant Sports. He also adds to the site’s NFL, NBA and MLB content. You can follow him on Twitter here.