Sidney Crosby

NHL on NBCSN: East’s elite meet as Penguins host Lightning

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NBCSN will continue its coverage of the 2014-15 campaign when the Pittsburgh Penguins host the Tampa Bay Lightning at the Consol Energy Center at 7:00 p.m. ET tonight. In addition to NBCSN, you can also watch the game and pre-show online.

Even with Sidney Crosby swollen and sidelined, hockey fans should be in for a treat when the Tampa Bay Lightning visit the Pittsburgh Penguins on Monday.

Plenty of star power, plenty of players fans should get to know better

Including Crosby, there are 13 players in the NHL with at least 30 points, and four of them play for these two teams: Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Steven Stamkos and Tyler Johnson.

Some casual fans probably look at the Lightning as Stamkos, maybe Victor Hedman and quite a few anonymous players, but the truth is that Tampa Bay is one of the deepest team in the East (if not the NHL).

Johnson quietly has 30 points in 31 contests as he has enjoyed great chemistry on a fantastic line with Nikita Kucherov and Ondrej Palat. The Lightning might have to go without Palat today, however, so both teams will be missing a noteworthy forward.

In other words, there should be no shortage of star wattage tonight, even with key injuries in mind.

Editor’s Note: Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $15,000 Fantasy Hockey league for Monday’s NHL games. It’s just $2 to join and first prize is $1,400. Starts Monday at 7pm ET. Here’s the FanDuel link.

Cream of the conference crop

Each team currently stands on top of its respective division; the Penguins are 19-6-4 for 42 standings points while the Bolts are 19-9-3 for 41.

The Lightning have been stumbling a bit lately, as they’ve dropped four of six games, including a 4-2 loss to the Washington Capitals on Saturday. This represents thes second contest of a five-game road trip.

The Penguins have been trading wins and losses lately, most recently dropping a 4-3 shootout decision in a thriller against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

There’s a solid chance we’ll see a showdown between Marc-Andre Fleury and Ben Bishop, two clear No. 1 goalies who have enjoyed strong starts to their 2014-15 campaigns. Whatever the case may be, the men in net are likely to be tested often tonight.

Last season, the Penguins went 3-0-0 against the Lightning. Will Tampa Bay make something of a statement by beating one of the East’s best? We’ll see on NBCSN.

Rangers’ Brassard diagnosed with mumps


The Rangers announced Sunday evening that forward Derick Brassard has been sent back to New York with a suspected case of the mumps.

Brassard, who had two assists in the Rangers’ 5-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks Saturday night, travelled with the team to Edmonton where New York plays the Oilers tonight.

Brassard is just the latest player to be diagnosed.

Sunday morning the Pittsburgh Penguins announced captain Sidney Crosby will miss Monday’s game due to the mumps.

According to Rangers’ coach Alain Vigneault, Brassard could’ve contracted the mumps from Crosby.

“He went head to head with Sid Monday,” he said. “Maybe Sid gave them to him.”

With Brassard out, Tanner Glass, who was a healthy scratch Saturday night, will play against the Oilers.

Related: Penguins GM admits he’s worried about mumps spreading

Penguins doctor: Crosby’s mumps ‘came about as a bit of a surprise’


However you speculate about how the Pittsburgh Penguins handled Sidney Crosby’s case of mumps, they’re at least being fairly transparent about the situation (right now).

The team shared a detailed feature on the situation, including some insight from the team’s head physician Dr. Dharmesh Vyas.

“It came about as a bit of a surprise to us,” Dr. Vyas said Sunday afternoon. “Every indication was that he was well protected against the disease.”

Here’s the team’s timeline for Crosby’s mumps, verbatim:

Illness Timeline

Pre-Winter Olympics, 2014

Crosby is given immunization and a booster shot to protect against diseases, including the mumps, prior to leaving for Sochi, Russia.

Nov. 24-28

Entire Penguins team was immunized and tested for mumps as an outbreak continues to grow in the NHL.

Nov. 28 vs. Carolina

Crosby suffered an injury to the right side of his neck – the salivary gland. He was tested with a CT scan and for mumps. All blood tests came back negative. Was given medication to bring swelling down.

Dec. 10-11

When medication for the salivary gland was stopped, Crosby developed swelling next to the injured area. Another series of tests, including mumps, were conducted. The tests showed no indication of an infection.

Crosby showed no symptoms of mumps such as fever, chills or generalized body aches.

Dec. 12 vs. Calgary

Crosby’s swelling and condition worsened. Crosby’s DNA was sent to the CDC for a sophisticated test. He was held out of the game until the CDC test results come back.

Dec. 13 at Columbus

Crosby’s CDC test results came back positive for mumps.

Friday, Dec. 12 is maybe the most interesting day in that timeline, as that’s when the 27-year-old was cleared to practice with teammates. It’s also when this jarring image surfaced:


Yeah, it certainly seems like his swelling had “worsened” by then.

Crosby is now being quarantined by CDC guidelines, yet there’s the concern that mumps already spread through the Penguins team and maybe beyond.

Don’t be surprised if this isn’t the last we’ve heard of this, as the league seemingly cannot shake the mumps.

Penguins GM admits he’s worried about mumps spreading


So, uh, now the Pittsburgh Penguins are worried about mumps spreading after admitting that Sidney Crosby has the illness.

That’s what GM Jim Rutherford told the Pittsburgh Post Gazette’s Shelly Anderson shortly after the team announced the illness of their star player.

This isn’t exactly a promising revelation being that the Penguins allowed Crosby to skate with teammates in his “infectious state.” Naturally, the deflection has already started.

/Cues swollen face photo:


To be fair to the Penguins, it sounds like he got a booster shot for the condition fairly recently:

Is it on the team or just an unfortunate circumstance? Maybe a little of both? Either way, it’s an odd and troubling situation.

We’ll see if other Penguins deal with this issue. They’ve already had their problems with garden variety injuries, so this could be quite the headache.

Want some quick facts about the ailment? Click here.

In other Penguins updates, Rutherford said Olli Maatta’s issue isn’t related to the cancerous tumor he had removed.

Crosby indeed has the mumps, won’t play Monday


Even for hockey’s “shrouding everything in mystery” standards, the Pittsburgh Penguins’ reluctance to admit that Sidney Crosby has the mumps has been pretty odd. They confirmed as much today, shortly after TSN’s Bob McKenzie reported it as such.

Maybe most importantly, the team revealed that his “infectious period” will end on Monday, although he won’t play against the Tampa Bay Lightning tomorrow anyway.

As PHT noted earlier this week, it was hard to think of anything else upon seeing Crosby’s face:


One interesting tidbit to add:

The real question is: who’s next in “The Year of the Mumps?”

Read more about it here.