At the beginning of the playoffs, a giant Stanley Cup was erected in Times Square.
Martin Brodeur is near the end of his storied career. The forty year old net minder holds many records. One of which – the shutout record, will not be broken. At least it may not be. Up in the air, high above the skating rink in New Jersey,in the great gondola in the sky, the hockey gods are watching.
And they smile …
The last of a generation of great net minders, Brodeur has earned the karma that was once reserved for ghosts of the old Montreal Forum. Since les Habitants have shrugged their shoulders at their own ghosts by a) not retiring Lemaire and Lapointe’s numbers b) Waiting too long to retire Geoffrion’s and c) turning the sacred legacy of Richard’s team into a money – making machine; the phantoms have found someone to help.
A Montrealer to boot!
In game five against the Rangers, the Devils deserved to win but not the way they did. Has there ever been a display of such poor goaltending displayed this deep in the playoffs? Martin Brodeur was horrible. He stood instead of stooping, he flipped, flopped and flew. The decisions he made injected hope to a Ranger squad that were down and out. An empty net would have done a better job …
The Devils won in overtime after abandoning a three goal lead. They won because the hockey gods deem Brodeur worthy of a helping blocker. A free pass for his years of service. A spectral thank you note from all the dead players, referees, managers and players who made the game great.
That giant Stanley Cup in Times Square did not hurt …
Two teams standing. A pair of battle weary opponents. Rocky versus Apollo Creed.
The Devils are Rocky. The underdogs. The team with so much promise that never showed until recently. The Panthers were the frozen meat hanging in the freezer. The Flyers – Mick’s incessant yelling in the ear. The Rangers? Running up the steps with energy to spare …
Los Angeles is Apollo Creed. They did not start that way until the k.o’s came. Vancouver in the fifth round, really a tko. St.Louis in the fourth – a knockout if ever there was one. Pheonix the same.
On paper, in many people’s eyes, the Kings have won before the puck hits the ice. Another sweep of the playoff dance floor. Problem is the paper is old. Yesterday’s news. The Devils have crumpled it and placed it to the recycle bin. The lid is closed and a wait commences for tomorrow’s paper.
L.A. has the edge in goaltending. Quick quicker than the aged Brodeur. L.A. has tougher defenceman and more depth up front. The Kings have more grit and more experience outside of the crease.
Yo Adrian – Devils in six games!