Devils not pushing panic button over Brodeur
Life without Marty Brodeur will be something new for the New Jersey Devils, but it will be business as usual for Lou Lamoriello.
Lamoriello, the president and general manager of the Devils, has the unenviable task of finding a worthy replacement for Brodeur, the most prolific netminder in franchise history.
How do you it? According to Lamoriello, you don't.
"Certain players have to raise their game a little," Lamoriello told Hockey Night In Canada Radio on Tuesday. "Other players will now get another opportunity to shine.
"It is almost like when you're in the playoffs. Someone always comes forward and steps up, and that is what we would like to see."
Brodeur, 36, has scheduled surgery Thursday to repair a torn distal biceps in his left elbow, his first major injury in a stellar career spanning 16 seasons.
The Montreal native sustained the injury as he made a routine glove save in the second period of this past Saturday's 6-1 victory over the Atlanta Thrashers.
"It is not something that is uncommon," Lamoriello said. "I didn't realize how much it has happened.
"It is just one of those things that you didn't see coming. Nor would you have any signs of it."
Ideally, Lamoriello wants to see Brodeur back between the pipes "tomorrow."
But the future Hall of Famer isn't expected back for three to four months.
"It is something that has to heal perfectly, and there is a protocol that is used to get it where it should be," Lamoriello said. "He is comfortable with what the decision is, he understands what's in front of him and he is ready for it — tomorrow comes awfully quick."
'We believe that he is capable'
Until then, Lamoriello is relying on a pair of journeymen to hold the fort — Kevin Weekes, who performed well in Monday's 2-0 loss to the Buffalo Sabres, and Scott Clemmensen, promoted Tuesday from the Lowell Devils of the AHL.
Weekes, who saw action in just nine games as Brodeur's backup last season, will get the bulk of the work.
"Hopefully, Kevin will rise to the occasion," Lamoriello said. "We believe that he is capable of doing that, and has worked very hard since he has been here.
"He has been a tremendous asset to our team. He knew his role and accepted it.
"He worked with Marty day in and day out, and they were supportive of each other. He is one of the hardest workers we have here, and right now he deserves to have any success."
'It is not taxing'
Brodeur has been the backbone of the Devils since he was drafted 20th overall in 1990.
He has played 978 NHL games and never missed more than six games in a row — until now.
In fact, he had made 56 consecutive starts before being hurt.
But Lamoriello scoffed at the suggestion that Brodeur is inviting injury by playing too much.
"I haven't bought into that," Lamoriello said. "He is capable, physically and mentally, to take that strain, as far as what is needed, and it is not taxing."
'I do not seeing us changing'
Brodeur is more than capable.
He is a three-time Stanley Cup champion and four-time Vezina Trophy winner.
He needs eight wins to break the NHL record of 551 held by Patrick Roy, and six shutouts to eclipse the record of 103 shutouts set by the late Terry Sawchuk.
He already owns the record for most wins in a season (48), for most 40-win seasons (7) and the lowest career goals-against average (2.20) in the NHL's modern era.
And in Lamoriello's opinion, he is irreplaceable.
"I do not see us changing," Lamoriello said. "We have gone through some injuries this year, like a lot of teams do and more so than we have ever experienced, and right now what we have to do is just focus on what we have control of, not what don't have control of."