Archive for January 6th, 2008

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SOTC Reads-Brodeur: Beyond the Crease

January 6, 2008

I was going to write about today’s Sabres / Thrashers game, but there’s only so many different ways you can say “this sucks” before things get repetitive. So I present a review on the Marty Brodeur book – Brodeur: Beyond the Crease.

This was one of the books that Santa brought me this year. I had heard good reviews about it before reading it, and went it with pretty high expectations. I was not disappointed. Since Marty’s been in the league for so long, he’s really able to provide a great perspective on how the league has changed since he entered it. I realize that he had “help” writing the book, but I really feel Marty’s voice coming through the pages.

While the entire book is interesting, there are a few things that stand out:

– The total escalation of salaries since the beginning of the 90s. When Marty entered the league, he made $80,000. Now, the minimum salary is $450,000. That’s almost a 500% increase. What’s incredible is that Marty was perfectly happy to be making that $80,000 as a kid (then again, I would be too!), just because he was playing hockey.

– It was also informative to read a non-whining personal account of how the players were affected by the lockout in 04-05. Whether some stayed home, played in Europe or just bummed around, all of the players had different reactions to being out of work for a year. He also shares his thoughts on the new CBA, including the 24% salary roll back. I just computed what 24% of my weekly paycheck is, and I would not be happy if I lost that, so I could only imagine how players feel losing 24% of what is a much, much larger paycheck than my worker bee one.

– He mentions that hockey players are nothing more than overgrown children. They have someone telling them where to be, when to be there, what time to go to bed, and when to wear a tie. Why is this so important? For awhile, my friends and I have hypothesized that hockey players – and other professional athletes – seem more grown up than us, even though we’re in the same age range. We thought it had something to do with the fact that a lot of these guys have been on their own (relatively speaking) since they were teenagers, while most of us “normal people” most decidedly have not.

However, when you think about it, Marty does have a point. Sure, I have to work my 830-5 cubicle job, but when I’m out of the office, I pretty much control what I want to do. My days off are my time, not thinking about my job. These guys live and die by the white boards in the locker rooms (the what to wear and when to be there), plus even their off days are consumed with hockey (practice, video, signings, etc). If you think about it, this adherence to a schedule and routine is probably what made the lockout so hard for some guys.

– I have to respect Marty for admitting that he acted like a model idiot regarding the situation with his wife and now-girlfriend.

– I really liked the insights into how the Devils operate as a “team first, individuals second” organization. Its also clear the respect that Marty has for Lou Lamoriello. If you think about it, Marty’s probably going to retire having played for only one organization in his career. That’s extremely rare in today’s NHL, and a sign that both player and organization respect each other, and realize the value of the other. Of course, now that I said this, watch Lou get hit by a bus, and the new GM trade Marty for a young prospect, a Zamboni battery and tickets to the Ice Capades. Kidding. I wish no ill will on Lou.

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