"NHL on NBC" analyst Pierre McGuire is in good spirits, upbeat and focused on rehabilitating from surgery for prostate cancer in time to fly to South Korea on Feb. 8 to begin work at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics.
McGuire, 56, had surgery for prostate cancer at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York on Jan. 4, approximately three months after an irregularity showed up during his regular annual physical with his family doctor at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center in New York.
"We've had a family doctor, Dr. Michael Cohen, for almost 30 years, and usually he sends out these unbelievably eloquent reports after your physical just saying how great it was and how healthy you are, this and that," McGuire told NHL.com in a phone interview Thursday. "Everything was good in mine except he said he's a little concerned about my elevated PSA [prostate-specific antigen], so he wanted me to go have a second test because sometimes there are false positives."
The second test revealed the same elevated PSA, so Cohen sent McGuire to see Dr. James McKiernan, a urologist at Columbia Presbyterian. An MRI revealed a small lesion on McGuire's prostate.
"So they said, 'We think because there's this lesion you should have a biopsy,'" McGuire said. "I went and had a biopsy at Columbia Presbyterian. That's probably the most difficult part of the procedure. Within four days they called me up and said your prostate has cancer."
McGuire was lucky that the cancer was caught early, in stage 1.
"I'm telling you right now, if I hadn't had this physical and Dr. Cohen hadn't have caught this early with Dr. McKiernan, I would still be running around with my hair on fire and I would have never known I had anything wrong with me," McGuire said. "I would never know. My workouts were the same. My work hours were the same. The amount that I was watching games, there was no issue. I was traveling to Boston to watch my son play [prep school] hockey. I was watching my daughter row all over the country. I was at the Army-Navy [football] game. I would have never, ever known. I didn't feel anything. I felt normal."
After meeting with McKiernan, McGuire said he called members of the NBC hockey family who have had prostate cancer, including his broadcast partner, Mike "Doc" Emrick. He eventually was pushed in the direction of Dr. Ash Tewari at Mount Sinai.
"He's one of the world's leading experts in robotic prostate surgery," McGuire said.
McGuire met with Tewari in early December, but because of the biopsy, which causes damage to the prostate that needs time to heal, he had to wait approximately six weeks before he could have surgery.
Tewari told McGuire he didn't need to rush to have the surgery, but if he wanted to be ready to fly to PyeongChang on Feb. 8, the latest he could have it was Jan. 4, which would leave him enough time to recover before going back to work.
"Dr. Tewari found a way to fit me in Jan. 4 at 5 a.m. for surgery, the morning after I worked the Chicago-Rangers game at Madison Square Garden," McGuire said. "I had surgery and was home a day later. Dr. Tewari was unbelievable and I'm so grateful for him and having gotten the opportunity to be treated by him. The doctors in this have been great, just phenomenal."
Emrick made the announcement of McGuire's illness during the telecast of the Chicago Blackhawks-Minnesota Wild game on NBCSN on Wednesday. Brian Boucher took McGuire's spot on the broadcast
Video: MIN@CHI: Emrick discusses McGuire's cancer diagnosis
"We have an absence in our regular lineup tonight," Emrick said. "Pierre McGuire is watching from home tonight, where he is recovering from successful surgery for prostate cancer last week."
McGuire said executives at the NHL, Emrick, NBC executive producer and president of production Sam Flood and fellow NBC broadcast partner Eddie Olczyk, who is going through treatment for colon cancer, have been tremendous resources and support pillars for him.
Expect McGuire now to become an advocate for regular prostate checkups.
"When you're in the business you just keep going and going," McGuire said. "You have a little ding here and a little ding there but you don't really pay attention to it because you're taught over time that you've got to survive and keep moving. Cancer doesn't work that way. I'm just so grateful."