A long jersey retirement ceremony for Martin Brodeur was made even longer by the fans who wouldn’t let him speak. After being introduced, Brodeur had to pause and step away from the podium as fans cheered and chanted his name. “I was ready to just go with my speech,” Brodeur said, “and Doc [Emrick] said stop a little bit, let this sink in.”
Brodeur talked about “closure,” and so did Devils fan Greg Wyshynski in his write-up of the evening, after the weirdness of Brodeur retiring with the Blues and joining their front office. All of that was forgotten as Brodeur’s No. 30 was raised to the rafters, joining just three other players: Ken Daneyko, Scott Stevens, and Scott Niedermayer, all of whom were in the house last night, along with the likes of Lou Lamoriello, Jacques Lemaire, Larry Robinson, Gary Bettman (who was booed), and longtime goalie coach Jacques Caron.
The Devils aired the above tribute video, narrated by Kiefer Sutherland, but fans didn’t particularly need the refresher on Brodeur’s accomplishments. 21 seasons in New Jersey; four Vezinas; three Stanley Cups; an argument for being the greatest goaltender in the history of the sport. And yet it was the little things he remembered. “Thank you for all the ‘Marty’s Better’ chants,” he told the crowd.
Brodeur also revealed that this wasn’t his first jersey retirement. His junior team, the now-defunct Saint-Hyacinthe (Quebec) Laser, retired his number early in his NHL career.
“My jersey is retired there already, but they don’t even have a team. Now, it’s like agriculture events in that rink and my jersey is hanging there with the cows.”
The Devils went out and beat the Oilers 2-1, on the strength of another good game from the NHL’s all-time save percentage leader: Cory Schneider. Yes, really.