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The way GM Lou "Status Quo" Lamoriello remains tight-lipped on all matters has been a running joke amongst New Jersey Devils fans. This is especially the case when it comes to star goaltender Martin Brodeur's(notes) health, as Lamoriello will call a given injury "just a bruise" and then it turns out Marty needs an artificial leg.

The latest "bruise" is what Lamoriello is calling a "non-operable knee sprain" suffered against the Montreal Canadiens on Sunday afternoon. From Tom Gulitti of Fire & Ice:

Lamoriello said there is "no timetable" for Brodeur's return to the lineup and would not answer when I asked if it was possible Brodeur will play this week, but it appears likely he will miss at least three games.

Brodeur will definitely sit out tonight's game against Carolina. The Devils then visit Toronto on Thursday before hosting San Jose on Friday. After that, they have four days off before hosting the Hurricanes again next Wednesday.

"It's a day-to-day rehab situation," Lamoriello said. "When his rehab gets to the point where his knee is better, it will be up to Marty and the doctor to decide (when he'll play)."

For the sake of reference, Gulitti writes that an MCL sprain kept Brodeur in street clothes for six games back in 2005-06.

Naturally, this injury occurs as Operation: (The) Rock Tease is thriving for the Devils. He hasn't given up more than three goals in a game since Dec. 23, and has won six of seven starts. The Devils are 16 points out of a playoff spot with 29 games left in the season.

Again, as a Devils fan, I'm torn. There's a certain amount of pride I take in seeing this team not go out like a punk, attempting to prove that had conditions been different at the start of the season (or in early December, when John MacLean should have been fired) the Devils could be in the playoff hunt.

And then there's a part of me that knows this is enormously stupid, because (a) they won't make the playoffs barring a miracle on the level of all the beer in the world simultaneously becoming free of charge; and (b) because the opportunities for this team to have a high draft pick in the first round have been sparse for the last 20 years.

About that pick: Maybe the more the Devils win, the more likely it is they'll give up this pick as an NHL sacrifice for the Kovalchuk mess. Maybe they just want to prove that this collection of players -- which, by the way, they're pretty much stuck with next season -- can actually compete under the right coach ... a message for the fans, media and a certain star winger going restricted free agent this summer.

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