Mumps claim Derick Brassard, this one will hurt the Rangers
It’s 1919 and the NHL is celebrating the sport with its annual Stanley Cup final. Then it hit! The Spanish Influenza epidemic infected both teams and would eventually claim the life of the Montreal Canadiens’ Joe Hall.
It would be the first and only time the Stanley Cup was not awarded after the playoffs began.
Flash forward almost 100 years later and the NHL is faced with another epidemic running through its locker rooms – the mumps. The Rangers’ Derick Brassard is reportedly the 14th player to contract the virus and was sent home on a private plane to be quarantined for 5 days per protocol.
The NY Post quoted Alain Vigneault on the matter. “Brass woke up this morning with the mumps, so we’re sending him home right now. Everyone has been tested, all the guys have had their shots, our doctors and I’m sure every team in the NHL are doing what they’re supposed to do.”
Brassard was playing extremely well and this will certainly impact the Rangers – possibly in more ways than one. Tanner Glass was the first to be diagnosed with the mumps and was laid out for days. When he returned to the lineup, he was fatigued but the impact was lessened by his role, to which he only plays 10 minutes or less a night.
Derick is a top line player, who plays big minutes in big situations. It will take him time to regain his almost point a game form. Brassard (8G-16A-24P) was also riding a 5 game point streak (2G-5A) before developing symptoms overnight. His absence from the lineup was painfully apparent against Edmonton, where NY’s offense look disjointed for most of the game.
The Blueshirts were forced to re-insert Tanner Glass back on the 4th line and juggle JT Miller to center. While he did a serviceable job as a pivot, he clearly looks more effective on the wing. Thus the Rangers lack of depth at center is exposed again. This is an issue that the Rangers must fix before the trade deadline if they have any hopes to make noise in the playoffs.
Another big concern is this – who is possibly the next victim of the mumps? The incubation period of this virus is anywhere from 16-18 days. Which means he likely he got it from Tanner Glass and not Sidney Crosby as AV said in jest.
Imagine losing Rick Nash and his 18 goals and 31 points from this lineup? Or Marty St. Louis and his 22 points? What about both at the same time? I shudder to even think it. The league has sent all 30 teams a memo on how to handle the mumps outbreak, thus far – it’s not working.