Inevitably, time will fade and bring with it change. In the eyes of Martin Brodeur, the tides of change have washed over the New Jersey Devils goal crease leaving a fresh sheet of ice for Cory Schneider.
With head coach Pete DeBoer announcing Schneider as the team's starter for a third consecutive game, the Devils longtime netminder questions whether his time as New Jersey's No. 1 goaltender has come to an end, via The Bergen Record:
"I think he’s in the net now to stay," Brodeur said today. "I don’t see that’s going to be changed any time soon. I’ll be ready if it is, but I think we’ve got to try to win some games somehow. This is what [head coach Pete DeBoer] feels is the best opportunity for him to be successful is having [Schneider] in the net and that’s fine. If we win, everybody’s happy. Even though I don’t play, it’s more enjoyable to be around.
"Days like today are not fun."
Of course, the Devils opponent on Thursday night is Schneider's old team, the Vancouver Canucks, and DeBoer previously acknowledged the motivation for Schneider to play against his former club. However, DeBoer would not explain his decision on Wednesday besides acknowledging how difficult it is to choose who will play, via NewJersey.com:
"It's never easy," DeBoier said. "We've got two very good goalies at different points in their career. One is the greatest goalie of all time and the other guy is a legitimate starter in this league. That situation is never easy."
And it doesn't stand to get any easier.
Regardless of final expiration date, Brodeur's career is coming to an end and Schneider will be the one to take over when it formally closes. While the Devils decision to properly prepare for a changing of the guard was brilliantly executed, it did create this awkward middle period where a legend is halfway out the door at the end of his story.
Ultimately, the team needs to do everything it can to win and if that means starting Schneider more frequently than Broduer, than that's what they have to do.