A sellout crowd of 10,792 hockey-starved fans filled Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall in New Jersey on Saturday night, as Team New York defeated Team Philly 10-6. The exhibition game known as “Operation Hat Trick”, which was led by Philadelphia Flyers’ left wing Scott Hartnell and New York Rangers’ center Brad Richards, raised money for the victims of Hurricane Sandy.
While Team Philly lost the game, having Martin Brodeur play for the Philadelphia-connected side was a victory in itself.
Brodeur was, is and will always be the greatest goaltender of this era. Sorry detractors, but his legendary accomplishments can’t be fully credited to the New Jersey Devils’ various defensive schemes.
Eat his regular season statistics for your digital dinner: 1,191 games played, 70,029 minutes in net, 656 wins, 119 shutouts, 27,312 saves, a .913 save percentage and a 2.23 GAA.
Now, snack on these playoff numbers for desert: 205 games played, 12,719 minutes in net, 113 wins, 24 shutouts, 4,830 saves, .919 save percentage and a 2.02 GAA.
And don’t forget that he won the Calder Cup, three Stanley Cups, four Vezina Trophies and five Jennings Trophies during his career as well.
No real Flyers’ fan booed “Marvelous Marty” during any part of this weekend’s high-flying exhibition game. Everyone fully realized that at least one of the Cups Brodeur won would have likely been driven through the streets of Philadelphia if he had worn a Flyers’ jersey at some point in his amazing career. As a result, all hardcore hockey fans were thrilled that this terrific crease man technically played one game for the Flyers.
As far as the game went
Lauren Hart, whose rendition of the National Anthem remains evergreen, sang the honors prior to the game.
An NHL All-Star game style allowed 16 total goals to be scored, as Brodeur’s opponent Henrik Lundqvist (a superb goaltender in his own right) still managed 56 saves.
Pittsburgh Penguins’ winger James Neal scored four goals for Team New York. The Flyers’ faithful were temporarily able to renew ties with old friends Simon Gagne, Justin Williams, James van Riemsdyk and Dan Carcillo, who all played for Team Philly.
More exhibition games should be held during the winter months if the NHL lockout continues. Sure, these events are complex undertakings. But, as long as enough players remain in North America other charitable causes would surely be fully supported by all who were involved.
Sean O’Brien is based in the Philadelphia region. He was a freelance sports writer for five years in the 1990s and is currently a Featured Contributor in Sports for the Yahoo Contributor Network! You can follow him on Twitter @SeanyOB and also read his daily Sports Blog: Insight.
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