Just a few hours after Penguins star Sidney Crosby was confirmed to have come down with a case of the mumps, the NHL had another player linked to the virus when Rangers center Derick Brassard was sent from a road trip in Edmonton back to New York City with a suspected case.
Brassard, who was the Blueshirts' second-leading point-getter (24 in 27 games), is the 14th player of the season to show symptoms of the mumps, which was contracted by teammate Tanner Glass in November. Other players affected include New Jersey's Travis Zajac and Adam Larsson; Anaheim's Corey Perry, Francois Beauchemin, Clayton Stoner and Emerson Etem; and Minnesota's Ryan Suter, Jonas Brodin, Keith Ballard, Marco Scandella and Christian Folin.
Penguins team doctor team doctor Dharmesh Vyas explained Sunday that Crosby had been closely monitored since suffering a gland injury Nov. 29. But the overall outbreak, which continues via the spread of saliva or mucus, is of significant concern to the league. Every additional case suggests a snowballing effect that teams are unable to stop. And when you keep in mind the effects of mumps can be devastating – it's especially dangerous to pregnant women and can cause sterility in men – it's imperative the league and not just individual team doctors works with the NHL Players' Association to rein this situation in as quickly as possible.