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.”
Keith Kinkaid has been called up from the minors to make his first NHL start on Tuesday and he couldn’t have asked for a tougher assignment. He’ll play against a Chicago Blackhawks squad that has won nine of their last 10 games and is getting back Patrick Sharp.
To make it even more difficult for Kinkaid, the Devils team in front of him will be nowhere near full strength. New Jersey is projected to enter tonight’s contest without forwards Travis Zajac (lower body), Ryane Clowe (upper body), Dainius Zubrus (leg laceration), Patrik Elias (groin), and Mike Cammalleri (pulled muscle in his rear), per the Bergen Record’s Tom Gulitti. Defensemen Adam Larsson (illness) and Bryce Salvador (lower body) are also unavailable.
Cory Schneider made 27 of the Devils’ first 28 starts, but he will be given a night off after turning aside 39 of 40 shots against Carolina on Monday. New Jersey called up Kinkaid this afternoon and sent Scott Clemmensen to the minors.
Part of the rationale for using Kinkaid over Clemmensen is probably related to how much ice time each of them has gotten recently. Kinkaid has been able to play regularly in the minors while Clemmensen hasn’t appeared in a game since Nov. 22, so rust could be a factor at this point.
It looks like the New Jersey Devils will go into a tough stretch with aches and pains, in more ways than one. In Michael Cammalleri’s case, there’s even a little comic relief (for your inner child, at least).
The Bergen Record’s Tom Gulliti shared a laundry list of updates, with most of the news being negative:
- The Devils assigned Damien Brunner (pictured) to the AHL, yet they might try to find a potential trade suitor. In the meantime, Gulitti notes that $1.575 million of the 28-year-old’s $2.5 million cap hit will count against the team’s cap even when he’s at the AHL level.
- New Jersey is concerned that Adam Larsson and Travis Zajac may have suffered from mumps, with Larsson still sick and possibly headed to injured reserve. Zajac’s a little banged up beyond whatever sickness he was dealing with, too.
- Patrik Elias is dealing with a groin injury, but frequent injury sufferer Martin Havlat may be able to play on Monday.
- Devils fans might need a chuckle at this point. Perhaps Cammalleri’s pulled butt muscle will suffice?
/Waits for inevitable Twitter handle @Cammalleributtmuscle