After his first season as a Penguin, many in the Pens fanbase complained vigorously about Paul Martin. Later on that prompted Ray Shero to say "If I listened to what everyone said, I might have traded Paul Martin." Good thing he didn't, because Paulie played his heart out for 5 years.
That all came to a sad and predictable end yesterday when he signed a 4-year contract with San Jose Sharks. Last night, my little kid cried and cried about #7 leaving, though I tried (and managed eventually) to distract her with getting excited about Phil Kessel.
On his way out of town, Martin, ever the classy guy, penned this amazing tribute to Pittsburgh and the Penguins. You must read it. Grab a tissue while you're at it. It is truly heartfelt, and what a great goodbye it is.
There are many more people I’d like to thank, but most importantly, I’d like to thank the fans. You were all so supportive and passionate. When I arrived here, I was a defensive specialist — definitely not a household name. I used to have a joke when I was driving around town with friends and spotted someone in a Penguins jersey. "Hey, there’s a no. 7!" You see so many 7s in Pittsburgh. Unfortunately, most have an 8 before or a 1 after. Sid and Geno run the town. Whenever I would see an actual Paul Martin jersey, I’d usually pop my head out the window and say hello.
The pleasure and the privilege was all ours, Paulie. Good luck in San Jose and may you win a Cup there. Teal #7 jerseys will be very popular, I'm sure.