On Friday afternoon, New Jersey Devils beat writer Eric Marin got a chance to sit down with the almighty Martin Brodeur, for an interview to discuss the off-season and the current Stanley Cup Finals matchup between the Philadelphia Flyers and Chicago Blackhawks.
For a team that very rarely sees things go wrong over the course of a season, this will now year number seven without a Finals appearance. The Devils have made it a habit in recent seasons to make an early round exit, something that Devils fans themselves will even say is a result of Brodeur not being on the top of his game.
Brodeur is the winningest goaltender in NHL history, and also owns records for most shutouts, games played, and minutes played. He normally could be considered as someone who knows what he is talking about, but as we have seen, his arrogance gets in the way.
It was towards the end of the interview, when Brodeur, commenting on the future of the Devils remarked, “We definitely know that we’re not far.”
Not far away? Oh really?
A prophecy from the Mighty Fatso himself!
This coming from a player on a team that has a terrible farm system, no name defense, no coach at the moment, no first round pick, a shoddy offense, and has a decision facing them whether or not to keep trade deadline acquisition Ilya Kovalchuk or homegrown hero Zach Parise, because they cannot keep both.
The Devils are on the way down, a path they have built for the last seven seasons. Lamoriello recognized it, which was why he brought in Lemaire this season, and Rolston the season before. He is trying to reclaim past glory, much like Neil Smith did with the Rangers, in bringing back 1994 Stanley Cup heroes in the late 90’s, a crop of decisions that ultimately led to his down fall.
So just what did Brodeur mean by saying they are not far away? Surely it was not about his team. Perhaps these are more reasonable:
We’re not far away…from a first round exit.
We’re not far away…from selling out every game. (LOL JK)
We’re not far away…from the hot dog stand. I’m hungry.
We’re not far away…from another diving penalty.
We’re not far away…from my next alimony payment.
We’re not far away…from New York, where everyone on this team really wants to play.
Martin Brodeur and his Devils will be in for a tough season next year, made even tougher by the fact that they will have to give Zach Parise a contract of over $7 million, something that Lamoriello very rarely does. Will he continue to be his cheap self and not retain him, or bite the bullet and go against his ways?
We will surely find out if the aging Brodeur will still attempt to play a hundred games in an eighty-two game season.
Every season we say the same thing; the Devils are in trouble. It’s early, but I’m getting that vibe already, unless their GM works some summer magic.