Perhaps Devils GM Lou Lamoriello decided to give the team multiple quasi-head coaches because he’s worried about one of them spending time in the Devils’ sickbay.
New Jersey is unfortunately one of the hardest hit teams by the mumps outbreak. Forward Patrik Elias became the third Devils’ player to be diagnosed with the mumps on Friday after Travis Zajac and Adam Larsson. Today it was revealed that Michael Ryder has the disease as well, per the Bergen Record.
The illness has also spread to the Devils’ affiliate, the AHL Albany Devils, as 37-year-old goaltender Scott Clemmensen is battling the mumps.
The Devils will get back Dainius Zubrus (leg) and Jacob Josefson (groin) tonight though. Along with the anticipated recall of Tim Sestito, New Jersey will have 11 healthy forwards for their game against the New York Rangers.
From The Record’s Tom Gulitti, with a follow-up note to the big news of the day in New Jersey:
The Devils confirmed Monday that Elias and Havlat were undergoing tests for the illness, which has already infected teammates Travis Zajac and Adam Larsson.
Neither Elias nor Havlat will play Saturday in New York versus the Rangers.
More from the infamous mumps outbreak of ’14 — on Monday, the Devils confirmed that Martin Havlat and Patrik Elias are undergoing tests for the illness, which already infected teammates Travis Zajac and Adam Larsson.
Havlat played in Saturday’s 4-0 loss to Washington and was pretty ineffective in just over 14 minutes of ice time, finishing minus-1 with just one shot on goal. Elias played more (17:40) but finished minus-2 with no shots on goal (though he did miss the net three times).
Earlier today, the Penguins announced that three players — Thomas Greiss, Steve Downie and Brandon Sutter — had all been return to Pittsburgh to undergo testing for the mumps. The Penguins, who play in Florida tonight, have already seen captain Sidney Crosby, defenseman Olli Maatta and forward Beau Bennett get diagnosed with the mumps.
On Wednesday we learned that New Jersey’s Travis Zajac and Adam Larsson became the 10th and 11th players over five NHL teams to be diagnosed with the mumps. So far the Philadelphia Flyers have been one of the clubs spared by the outbreak, but they played New Jersey last night and battled another team that has dealt with the disease, the Anaheim Ducks, on Dec. 3.
Flyers GM Ron Hextall said his team is doing everything it can to prevent the spread of the virus, but that doesn’t change the fact that this remains a concern for the entire league.
“Absolutely,” Hextall said, per CSN Philly. “It’s been rampant around the league. And it’s not a one-day thing. I’ve talked to other managers, too, that it had gone through their team and their docs have told them that everybody on their team has been exposed to it, but only certain people are susceptible for whatever reason. We’ve talked long and hard about it. Talked to our medical staff numerous times and we’ve addressed it as best as we can.”
To attempt to provide some context, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that there were only 438 reported cases of the mumps over 39 states in 2013. That’s down from around 186,000 cases annually in the United States prior to the start of the vaccination program in 1967. The CDC also says that the vaccine is very effective, but doesn’t provide complete protection.
Another day, another NHLer diagnosed with the mumps.
This time, though, it’s two more players.
The New Jersey Devils have confirmed that center Travis Zajac and defenseman Adam Larsson have tested positive for mumps, per the Bergen Record:
The diagnostic process takes so long — five to seven days — that Zajac is already over it and has skated the last two days.
Larsson is still recovering and in isolation, as is the protocol.
“Travis had it, but he’s over it,” [Devils GM Lou] Lamoriello said this morning. “This only came about the last two days. Adam is on the recovery period right now from what the doctors said.”
The Ducks, Blues, Wild and Rangers have all dealt with the mumps to varying degrees this season. Minnesota lost nearly two-thirds of its defense to the illness (Ryan Suter, Marco Scandella, Jonas Brodin, Keith Ballard and Christian Folin) while other teams, like New York, were fortunate to have the virus isolated to a single individual (Tanner Glass).
The league and NHLPA are aware of the outbreak and say they’re doing all they can to contain it.
“It is certainly an outbreak that was unexpected and has caused unwanted disruption at the team level, but it is not something we have any significant control over,” deputy commissioner Bill Daly said, per CBC. “As long as our clubs are doing what they need to do to minimize risk of contraction, we are hopeful that the wave of cases will run their course and life will return to normal in the relatively near term.”