Devils GM Lamoriello: 'It's part of the game'

October, 27, 2009
the NHL this past weekend and my colleague Scott Burnside has more on the wide-spread affliction of star players getting hurt early this season.

But in New Jersey, don't underestimate the loss of Paul Martin.

The underrated blueliner, a lock for the 2010 U.S. Olympic team, is New Jersey's top defenseman. He's out four to six weeks after suffering a non-displaced fracture in his left forearm in Saturday's 4-1 win at Pittsburgh.

The news got worse for the Devils, who also found out they have lost key defensive forward Jay Pandolfo, also for four to six weeks, with a shoulder injury.

Just when the Devils are going strong, winning six of their last seven games, they get hammered with two big injuries.

"It's part of the game, you can't even think about it," veteran Devils GM Lou Lamoriello told on Tuesday.

Martin doesn't have the same cache, for whatever reason, but you could make an argument that his loss is somewhat comparable to Sergei Gonchar in Pittsburgh and Andrei Markov in Montreal. Martin leads the Devils in ice time (averaging 23:57 per game) and plays in all key facets of games -- special teams, last minute of play, you name it.

"Some regulars will have to pick up some of the minutes from Paul," said Lamoriello.

That means John Oduya, Bryce Salvador, Mike Mottau and Andy Greene.

"And a young fellow, Mark Fraser, will go into the lineup as the sixth person," said Lamoriello.

But there's no Paul Martin in this group. Doom and gloom? Forget about it. As Tom Gulitti aptly pointed out in The Bergen Record on Tuesday, this is a Devils team that went 32-17-1 without star goalie Martin Brodeur in the lineup last season. At the time of Brodeur's injury a year ago, the predictions were dire.

"I don't know what anybody else thinks, but we don't think like that here," said Lamoriello.

Getting star forward Patrik Elias back would certainly be a bonus. He has yet to play this season as he recovers from a groin injury.

"He's very close," said Lamoriello. "He'll be practicing with the team very shortly."

Pierre LeBrun

ESPN Senior Writer



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