The 49th in our 118-part series and second in our two-part mini-series.
Laughing at Marty Brodeur
Perhaps the highest compliment we can pay a player is when we focus on him enough to make merciless fun of him. We’ve shared some of our loving mockery for Sid Crosby, and we’d be remiss not to mention here how much we enjoy how hard Marty Brodeur makes us laugh, too. Of course, it helps that he laughs at himself (see: Game 6, 2003 Stanley Cup Final. You know what we’re talking about), and that he manages to pull off an almost unimaginable combination of outsized ego, humility, goofiness, punkiness, cockiness and modesty.
With that said, we want to share one of our longest-standing, fondest-loved Marty in-jokes. Bear in mind, Gentle Reader, that he’s a guy who drinks three Sprites during each game, so we like to think his training table looks not unlike what ours would. So one summer several years ago Pookie was toiling in a stage-crew job far from home and Schnookie decided to send her a care package. In that care package was a handmade “Devils Activity Book”, the kind of which has simple, child-level word searches, pictures to be colored in, and whatnot. And the piece de resistance in the Activity Book, the page that still graces our refrigerator door, is simply known as “Donut Marty”:
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The 48th in our 118-part series and first in our two-part mini-series.
Appreciating Marty Brodeur
Marty Brodeur is a constant in our lives as hockey fans. We came to the Devils by the time he was already established, a Cup winner, and having his success waved off by most people in the hockey establishment as just a product of New Jersey’s defensive system. And because everyone else was doing it, we figured the best thing to do with him is take him for granted. Entire seasons passed where Marty was the player equivalent of white noise as far as our favorite team was concerned. Game in and game out he was ensconced in the crease, quietly and happily going about his business, while we just flat-out didn’t notice him. We reached an equilibrium with him — he was our 70+ start guy, a model of steadiness and poise, and he was just always back there for us. We knew we were lucky to have him, but he just really wasn’t at all demanding as a superstar; he didn’t care if we were chanting his name or whether he was the official first star of the night. He was just… Marty.
We were shaken for the first time from this complacency regarding Marty in the second round of the playoffs in 2000. The Devils were playing the Maple Leafs and all the media coverage seemed to be about how much better Curtis Joseph was than Marty. Wait, Curtis Joseph? Seriously? The same Curtis Joseph we think they’re talking about? The same one who’s going to go down in history as the best goalie to never win a damn thing? We bristled at this — suddenly we felt like the only people who should be allowed to take Marty for granted were Devils fans. Everyone else should be giving him the credit he deserved, dammit! A few more playoff series during which he was measured by the prognosticating media and found lacking in comparison to such luminaries as Ed Belfour, Brian Boucher and Johan Hedberg, woke the sleeping giant in us. We couldn’t stand it anymore, and we couldn’t stand it in ourselves anymore: it was time to recognize how good Marty Brodeur really is.
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