The New Jersey Devils will be without goaltender Martin Brodeur for at least three months, the first time ever the team has faced a lengthy period without the services of the perennial all-star.
"This Thursday morning, Martin Brodeur will undergo surgery to repair the distal bicep in the left elbow," Devils president and general manager Lou Lamoriello said in a release.
Lamoriello told the Newark Star-Ledger on Tuesday that the recovery time for the operation could be "anywhere from three to four months."
Brodeur injured his elbow in Saturday night's 6-1 win over Atlanta, and will be sidelined three to four months.
"I just extended my arm real quick and I just felt a pop and a tapping kind of feeling in my biceps," he told reporters Tuesday on a conference call.
"This is not a career-ending injury," Lamoriello said. "This is a bump in the road … I have total confidence that he will be back in a short period of time."
Brodeur has been a workhorse in his career, never appearing in fewer than 67 games in the last 13 years.
The Atlanta game was his 51st consecutive start, dating back to last season.
His longest previous absence was six games, for a leg injury in 2005.
"It's shocking because you expect my knee is going to go or my groin or my thumb, something I use as a goalie," Brodeur said. "I didn't expect my biceps could be a big factor in an injury.
"It was a freak accident. That's why I am shocked about the injury; that's not something I expected to hurt."
The No. 1 goalie for New Jersey before Brodeur was Chris Terreri, who played a few more games than Craig Billington in the 1991-92 season.
Brodeur got his first taste of the NHL that season, with four appearances.
The Montreal native has since gone on to win the Vezina Trophy as top goaltender four times, all within the last five seasons, and backstopped New Jersey to three Stanley Cup wins. In October, he moved to within five of tying Terry Sawchuk's hallowed mark of 103 career shutouts.
Kevin Weekes was in net for New Jersey's 2-0 loss to Buffalo on Monday.
"I think it's a great opportunity for him to go out and prove himself to be the top goalie," Brodeur said. "He is going to play in front of a great team like I did for a lot of years and, hopefully, he will do well for us and hold the fort until I come back."
The Devils called up Scott Clemmensen from the American Hockey League earlier in the day.
New Jersey (6-3-2) returns to action Wednesday against Tampa Bay.