Posted 14 February 2014 - 07:29 AM
I don't consider this to be "the second things aren't working out" when it's been pretty apparent that things were heading in this direction for quite a while now.
Did he have a hot run during the playoffs in the cup run? Yes, but he was running extremely hot and cold that year in general and there were points during that very season where we as fans were more comfortable with Hedberg in net than Marty. No one that off-season wanted Lou to give Marty a two year contract except Marty. It's why he went looking for other teams to essentially shame Lou into it.
The season before that was an unmitigated disaster partially because of Johnny Mac seeming to have no defensive strategy, but at the same time Marty was by no means playing the Curtis Joseph on the Maple Leafs role and he was getting clearly frustrated with what he saw as a lack of support, but would honestly probably not have been very different than what he would find himself playing behind the Oilers or Islanders if he succeeds in getting traded to a team like that. He was pretty horrible that first half and didn't start "playing well" until Jacques brought in a defensive system that we shall not refer to by name.
My point is that the handwriting was on the wall and was getting clearer with each passing season and last season was the cap off to all of that. The only one who refused to see it was Marty and Lou was dragged along for it.
2010-11 and 2011-12 were very similar. Poor first halves overall followed by mostly terrific second halves. It wasn't so much that he was hot and cold throughout...it was more like he was two different goalies each of those seasons. If 2011-12 had gone the other way (hot first half, lousy second half), he probably doesn't get a two-year deal, and may very well have called it quits after that year. Hard to say.
But it all goes back to the same thing...the Devils came within two victories of a Stanley Cup. Marty was very good during the playoffs, including the Finals. He had been very good for 50 games. Can you really blame Lou or Marty for thinking there was still something left? Can you blame Lou for not wanting to let Marty just walk after he'd played some terrific hockey? Can you blame Marty for using that 50-game burst, where he clearly was helping his team, to try to get just a little more out of the Devils when he knew there was a good chance it could be his very last contract? 50 games of overall very good play is a full season's worth for a lot of goalies...it's not a teeny sample size. And Marty always signed fair deals throughout his career with a minimum of fuss (except for the one after his first Cup, which was what led Lou to tell Marty he would no longer deal with Marty's agent, Gilles Lupien).
Anyway, what was the alternative? Lou wasn't going to say "Thanks but no thanks" to Marty, and the much of the fanbase would've blasted him if he had. Both he and the organization would've come off as cold and very unappreciative (not to mention there wasn't any real Plan B in place for 2013). Lou probably wasn't tickled about a two-year deal either, but the lockout and the potential for another missed season clearly complicated things.
It's easy to say the "writing was on the wall" in hindsight, now that Marty's clearly not a good puck-stopper anymore, but when you factor in EVERYTHING that had just happened as the 2012 playoff run came to a close, can you possibly say that the Devils should just told Marty "Adios, thanks for everything, good luck playing for another team?"
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Even when Marty comes back maybe Larry should put Clemmensen to be on the goal during the shootouts.
Can the coach do that ? Switch the goalies 5 seconds to go in overtime? - Most priceless quote ever posted on a message board.
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It's easy to support a great player when he's playing at his very best. It takes a true fan to support that same player during those rare moments and stretches when he's not. Babe Ruth went 0-4 some games, and sometimes Wayne Gretzky was held pointless. There may be such a thing as greatness, but no such thing as absolute perfection every single night.
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