PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Olli Maatta will undergo surgery next week to remove a tumor from his neck that has an 85-percent chance of being a low-grade thyroid cancer, team doctor Dharmesh Vyas said Monday.
Maatta has been cleared to play until his surgery, and is expected to be in the lineup for each of the Penguins three home games this week. He has been one of the Penguins more efficient defenseman this season playing alongside Kris Letang. Maatta has one goal and five points in seven games, averaging 20:12 of ice time.
"I will say that this news came out about three weeks ago, when Olli was first made aware of it," Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford said. "And to watch a young man continue his life and play the way he's played has been absolutely amazing. It's amazing that he can still concentrate and continue on. He's kept this to himself.
"I know a couple of his teammates knew about it, but at the same time, I can't say enough about Olli, about how he's handled this news."