The high note was 2011-12. In a perfect world, though we would've been bummed initially to see him go, that would've been the perfect time for him to go out. He would've left the game having had an extended terrific run, having fallen two games short of a Stanley Cup, having made it to 40.
Instead he's 41 1/2, looking shaky and like he might have nothing left, and having more and more fans wishing he'd gotten out while there was a resemblance to the Marty of old. Better to wonder if Marty might have been able to play a little longer, as opposed to seeing firsthand that it's probably going to be tough to watch him.
It's so hard for a any athlete to end on such a high note. He was playing extremely well, and the team looked excellent. He signed before it was official that Parise left, so he had to feel good about the team too. Brodeur, along with everyone else, kept talking about how much they enjoyed playing with each other and how much fun they were having. He had his bromances with Kovy and Clarkson.
On top of that, he still had options. Chicago and Toronto were really gunning for him, so he actually had enough leverage to get 2-years from Lou. And has been discussed here at the time, there is the possibility that he could still use the money after a messy divorce, so many kids, spousal support, child support etc.
It's just with a goalie, there really is no middle ground. You can't hang around and be Chelios or Modano, or in another sport, chip in off the bench and give 10-15 good bench minutes or pinch hits or snaps, etc. If you suck, it will show, and it will badly hurt your team. And right now he still comes to town with so much respect from the average local radio announcer, scribe or fan (like in Ottawa yesterday, no one was talking about Brodeur possibly being the reason the Devils are struggling so much, and reporters were actually discussing if Brodeur would join a playoff team, like Roloson did years back, if the Devils decide to rebuild mid-season). Then you actually see Brodeur in the game, and it's ugly. Opposing fans are trying to be respectful, but man it isn't pretty seeing one of the greatest like this. This is Curtis Joseph and Dwayne Roloson final season bad.
Anyway, part of the issue is the team from the players, to the coaching staff and management. There is too much respect for him, but I imagine that soon enough, Deboer will appreciate having a coaching job more than appreciating Brodeur's career. But it started last season when Deboer gushed about having the best goalie duo in the league, and continued when Schneider got traded, and Lou quickly made note that Brodeur is still the starter. And then Deboer said right away that Brodeur would be his opening night starter seconds into training camp. And when Schneider dominated pre-season, Pete made it known that Cory gives him the same calming influence that Brodeur does back there. How ridiculous.