The mumps continue to ravage the NHL as Devils forwards Patrik Elias and Michael Ryder both tested positive for the virus on Saturday, the team announced in a statement. Twenty-two players in the league have come down with the ailment, including four on the Devils. Previously, Travis Zajac and Adam Larsson had been benched due to the mysterious outbreak that has officials from the NHL and researchers at the Centers for Disease Control searching for ways to contain it.
[Related: What’s causing the NHL’s mumps outbreak?]
So, far five teams are known to have been affected by the mumps, including the Devils, the New York Rangers, the Minnesota Wild, the Anaheim Ducks and the Pittsburgh Penguins, who are dealing with one of the largest outbreaks. On Friday, two more players tested positive for the mumps, bumping the total number of Penguins players infected with the virus to five, including star center Sidney Crosby, who is on the mend.
As for the Devils, the news of the new mumps cases comes on the tail of a coaching change. After the team fired coach Pete DeBoer on Friday, executives outlined a new, more unique coaching scheme to be implemented Saturday. Adam Oates and Scott Stevens will become “co-coaches,” while team president and general manager Lou Lamoriello has agreed to go “behind the bench in a supervisory role” on an interim basis.
President/GM Lou Lamoriello announces he will go behind bench with Adam Oates handling forwards and Scott Stevens handling defense.— New Jersey Devils (@NJDevils) December 27, 2014
“It’s certainly been a very interesting last 48 hours,” Lamoriello said in a team statement. “The decision was made to go forward. I tried to come up with, in my opinion, what was the best way to get our team to do certain things and get the most out of personnel we have.”
Lamoriello said next season fans should expect a more traditional set-up, i.e., one head coach.
The Devils (12-17-7) are scheduled to face the New York Rangers (18-10-4) on Saturday at 7 p.m. EST.