Well, at least it isn't as bad as we had in our worst nightmares. It'll still affect our hockey club for a good chunk of time, but we can survive it. Tom Gulitti reported today that Devils defenseman Paul Martin, who leads the club in ice time, and checking forward Jay Pandofo will both miss 4-to-6 weeks with seperate injuries sustained during Saturday night's 4-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins. For now, neither injury requires surgery, though Pandolfo may have to shut it down and go under the knife if a rehabilitation program doesn't work. Devils General Manager Lou Lamoriello explained Pandolfo's situation a little bit more:
"We won't know for a short period of time whether surgery is needed or not," Lamoriello said. "Right now, he will not be operated on. It's something that you wait and see. It's his first time with this shoulder, so it's a situation that you just see what rehab does and it won't hold any time back by waiting on rehab or opearate."
As for Martin, Lamoriello says that he'll go a while without skating:
"I'm sure he will be able to skate eventually," Lamoriello said. "But the first part of the cast is always to put it that there's no chance of banging into anything, especially when it's in the good shape it's in. When it's non-displaced that means it's already in place, so it's just the healing. And then everybody's body is different."
To compensate, the Devils have recalled Cory Murphy, who got that emergency we said he needed to play for the big club again, from Lowell (AHL). The problem is that the Devils defense has more troubles than Martin's injury. Mike Mottau didn't play in Saturday night's game due to an injured hip from Thursday night against the Rangers. Colin While also sat out practice today. Lamoriello stated he was "just resting", but we'll see what that really means.
For now, the Devils defense features White, Mottau, Murphy, Johnny Oduya, Andy Greene, Bryce Salvador and rookie Mark Fraser. It'll be interesting to see who gets playing time here. Logic would seem to dictate Oduya's minutes will increase for sure, but it'll be interesting to see who else the Devils give a shot on the backline.
As for Pandolfo, we love Super Jay, but his injury does not mean nearly as much to this team. Pandolfo's line, with Rob Niedermayer and Brian Rolston, was getting a ton of time of possession in the opponent's offensive zone, but not nearly enough scoring chances. We'll see who gets the bulk of Pando's minutes on that line. We'd be willing to put money on David Clarkson or Matt Halischuk, who's roles have meant bouncing around lines (and in Halischuk's case, in and out of the lineup) until Pandolfo returns.
Looking at the calendar, 4-to-6 weeks means the earliest we could see Pandolfo and Martin back is November 25th vs. Ottawa. The latest would be December 3rd against Vancouver. A four week absence would miss them both around 12 games. If it is as much as six weeks, it'll be 14-15. It will certainly be rough for New Jersey to get by.
But Lamoriello noted that this is a resillient bunch:Lamoriello is not concerned about the injuries affecting team morale in a negative way.
"Not this team," he said. "You start with the coaching staff. This is a mature and experienced coaching staff. And you look at the players, they know that injuries are part of the game. No one want to see it happen. No one wants to see a player get injured, but you can't think of anything other than what your responsiblity, what your job description is."