Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Marty's Accomplishment Disrespected



Another night. Another remarkable accomplishment for New Jersey Devil netminder Martin Brodeur, who turned aside all 22 shots in a 3-0 shutout at snowy Buffalo last night. Finally, MB30 had shutout No.103, tying Terry Sawchuk's once thought unmatchable record which will soon go by the wayside much like Patrick Roy's 551 wins.

That the three-time Stanley Cup winner, Olympic gold medalist and four-time Vezina recipient also recently became the most active goalie in minutes played and also soon enough games played demonstrates just how durable he has been throughout a Hall Of Fame 16-year career. When I think of Marty, one word comes to mind. Consistency. All the consecutive 40+ win seasons prove it along with the fact the ageless 37 year-old is still performing at a high enough level to wonder if Cup No.4 is coming back to the Garden State on what's a very good Devil team. Leave that debate for another day.

As someone who has had to watch the best No.30 provide many headaches, the man is a champion on and off the ice who handles himself the way another great player in the metro area does. No wonder they share so much in common except that the Devil franchise plays in obscurity, even if The Rock in Newark is a great arena. So, what if he doesn't play across the Path on Broadway under the spotlight. This is what has always driven Kool Aid drinkers nuts. For that reason, Brodeur has flown under the radar despite staking his claim as the all-time greatest player to play the most important position in the NHL. If you don't have a good goalie, you'll never win Lord Stanley. Ex. Philadelphia Flyers

We're not here to discuss the difference between playing in The Big Apple and the sister state where Lady Liberty really stands. Something proud New Jerseyans will remind you if you're from NYC. Perhaps it has to do with the face both the Giants and Jets have New York across their uniforms while playing at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford. So, can you blame them?

It shouldn't matter that Brodeur plays under the shadows for the Devils. Fact is they're one of the greatest current sports franchises on par with the Red Wings, Patriots, Steelers, Colts, Spurs and Red Sox. Notice the great company they're in. Only Detroit and San Antonio have won more championships. We left out the Yankees because they're still the best franchise, now having won five World Series since 1996. Of course, it's easy to point out that the Yanks play in the Bronx which ain't exactly paradise even if the brand new Stadium is a crown jewel. If you're a successful franchise, it shouldn't matter where you play. Try telling that to this town where if you make it here, you'll make it anywhere as Frank Sinatra once said.

Would it kill the Daily News or NY Post to give MB30 his proper due instead of the same old same old recycled covers? Guess that's what happens when you play for New Jersey. It just doesn't have the same sex appeal. In the newspaper business, they're trying to sell papers. So, it's always going to be something over the top and usually from this city. That is unless there's a bunch of fluff like Tiger Woods' marriage on rocks due to incompetence. Does anyone really care about his personal life? But hey. It sells. So, we'll excuse the tabloids for eating it up.

What can't be ignored is how poorly this sport is treated by ESPN. At one time, they aired games for x amount of years, including a couple we provided stats research for the talent. When I worked there, all the employees involved in making it a great production put everything and more into it. Considering all the money they invested in hockey, it made plenty of sense. One thing about Bristol, Connecticut. If they cover your sport, expect them to give a yeoman effort. Even if it's resulted in butchering Monday Night Football. The best thing I've seen since 2002 was the 30 In 30 features, including The Trade of Wayne Gretzky, which was excellently produced. That's ESPN at its best. If you want it at its worst, watch Sports Center. A show that once was great as a kid now has zero imagination, even ticking off their own researchers that put in hard hours for ridiculous storylines that have little to do with sports.

That's what we're dealing with since Disney took over. If they cover your sport, you'll usually get great highlights and over analysis. See last night where Aaron Rodgers was treated like a Super Bowl winning quarterback. SC was basically football, football, FOOTBALL with a little AI, then more football, football, FOOTBALL. Sadly, the real King Of The Night- who deserved a lot more than the 11+ percent if most sportsfans weren't so brainwashed- was reduced to a small blurb showing 2 miniscule highlights of his 103rd career shutout that tied a significant record. Then, they went back to more football. If you caught our last post on the other server early this morning on our birthday, then you already know.

Since hockey is hardly covered anymore after Bristol passed on re-upping due to the lockout with it instead winding up on Versus, where DirecTV subscribers got royally screwed and couldn't catch one second of MB30's shining moment, it comes as no surprise that such a special night got lost in the ESPN shuffle. Sadly, it's worse than Phil's recurring events in Groundhog Day. Even the Rangers aren't this bad yet. Somehow, Barry Melrose and Matt Barnaby cash checks for zilch. John Buccigross, who's one of the best hockey people in The States, remains employed working SC. He wrote a damn good column over a week ago on Brian Burke's openly gay son Brendan. How unfortunate that we don't benefit from Bucci's enthusiasm for the sport.

Earlier this year, I pondered if a return to ESPN would be beneficial to the game. Sure. It would be more available to viewers and promoted better than what we get on Versus along with NBC, who has the NHL by the balls. But when I see how little it's covered along with the ultimate disrespect to a super special athlete who's much more likable than most of the pampered they push, it would be an exercise in futility. They don't deserve Alexander Ovechkin, Sidney Crosby, Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, Nicklas Lidstrom, Evgeni Malkin, Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Nicklas Backstrom, Zach Parise, John Tavares and Matt Duchene. Clearly, there's more talent on display than ever before.

We don't deserve to be treated like second class citizens. So, while they can continue showcasing the overrated and image conscientious LeBron, I'll take our gifted batch anyday with Mr. Brodeur the head of the class. Everything a real superstar should be. One of the best to ever play the game and a truly magnificent athlete. Even Derek Jeter and Peyton Manning would agree.

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