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Stempniak being tested for mumps; Brassard update; Nash for Hart; NYR @ Canes; Brooks' hot take; Vezina predictions

Bantering Points for Friday, December 19, 2014.

Al Bello/Getty Images

Mumps News:

Lee Stempniak is showing some symptoms and may have the mumps. Enough already.  [Blueshirt Banter]  [NY Post]  [Newsday]  [NY Daily News]  [NY Times]

Derick Brassard has made it past the worst of his mumps and has been cleared to skate with the team. They expect him to do so today. He may even be ready this weekend, but we don't know where his stamina will be after the sickness. Obviously, that would be a boost(er). He's having his best season, to date. [Blueshirts United]  [Newsday]  [NY Daily News]

The mumps may now be spreading to the Ranger's AHL affiliate in Hartford. Coach Ken Gernander and forward Joey Crabb have been isolated from the team, pending testing.  Let's get this damned thing under control.  [NY Post]  [ESPN]

HOT TAKE ALERT! HOT TAKE ALERT!

This is a masterpiece of white-hot lunacy. I'll let it speak for itself. Brooksie, all I have to say is, please seek help.  [NY Post]

Non-Mumps and Non-Crazy Rangers News:

Henrik Lundqvist loves to play. Especially when he is on a roll. But it is likely that Hank will split the weekend back-to-back home-and-home against Carolina with battery mate Cam Talbot. This is a good thing.  [NY Post]

Rick Nash is awesome. This surprises nobody. Least of all, his teammates.  [Newsday]

Rick Nash for the Hart Trophy is a conversation worth having. [The Hockey Writers]  [CBS NY]

I can't figure out if Kevin Hayes is a bro-guy, a stoner (Spicoli?), or what. But I love how he plays hockey. I think Haye's ceiling is very high.

20-year-old prospect Adam Tambellini is following in his family's footsteps. The 2013 draft could've been terrible for the Rangers, given their track record lately and the fact that they had no picks in the first two rounds. Instead they picked up Tambellini (65th), Pavel Buchnevich (75th) and Anthony Duclair (80th) in the third. Not a bad haul, eh?  [Blueshirts United]

A holiday wish-list for the Rangers...I guess. Wouldn't "add a top 4 defenseman and deal with the Staal thing" be on there? Meh...whatever. [Bleacher Report]

Looking ahead, the Rangers have a favorable schedule to close out 2014. And it isn't so bad to start 2015 either. They need to take advantage.  [Rant Sports]

Around the League:

The Habs honored their retired former captain Saku Koivu in an emotional pre-game ceremony.  He was a great ambassador for the game, and an outstanding player. HOF?  [The Hockey News]  [CBC]

Here's a list of Vezina candidates for 2014-15. I personally think this list isn't great, but it doesn't much matter since the only name on it that is actually deserving is Pekka Rinne. He has been utterly dominant. One name is noticeably absent. I'm guessing that will change, though.  [The Hockey News]

The Sabres are winning themselves right out of the Connor McDavid sweepstakes. Is this the right path for them? Reality is, they really aren't playing that great despite the winning and will probably fall back down to the basement soon.  Good to see they aren't intentionally tanking though, as far as I am concerned.  [The Hockey Writers]

Meanwhile, TSN's Director of Scouting Craig Button puts McDavid and American Jack Eichel on nearly even footing at the top of his prospect list.  [TSN]

Happy Friday.