2 out as mumps virus strikes Wild
Published 3:07 am Tuesday, February 28, 2017
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The Minnesota Wild came back from their five-day bye with a most unwelcome visitor: the mumps virus.
Forwards Zach Parise and Jason Pominville were diagnosed with the highly contagious disease and must miss at least three games.
Assistant coach Scott Stevens was also stricken, coach Bruce Boudreau said after the Wild beat Los Angeles 5-4 in overtime on Monday night.
Two seasons ago, when Boudreau was the coach for Anaheim, both the Wild and the Ducks were hit hard by mumps as it made its way around the NHL. The Wild had five defensemen get the virus that time, with absences ranging from one game to roughly three weeks.
“What can you do? You just sit there and go, ‘Here we go,”’ Boudreau said.
The Wild confirmed the cases of Parise and Pominville shortly before the game against the Kings. The veteran wings were placed in isolation for a five-day period, meaning they’ll at least miss games Tuesday at Winnipeg and Thursday at Columbus. The Wild said players and staff were recently provided with a measles-mumps-rubella vaccination, as they were early in the 2014-15 season when the virus last made its way through.
“It’s a lot for one team in a few years,” right wing Mikael Granlund said.
Granlund’s winning goal triggered a raucous celebration on the ice, with plenty of gloves touching the faces of teammates.
“If someone had it in that pile, then we all got it so we’ll see it what happens,” center Eric Staal said.
Vancouver played Saturday night without five players because of confirmed mumps or symptoms associated with the virus. The Wild played there a little more than three weeks ago. Symptoms such as swollen glands and jaws and fatigue and fever can take a while to appear after infection.
Pominville had at least one point in 14 of his past 16 games since Jan. 19, leading the NHL with 16 assists during that span. Parise had begun to play more effectively and productively, too, after a sluggish, substandard start to his season.
With Parise and Pominville out, forwards Martin Hanzal and Ryan White made their well-timed debuts after being acquired Sunday in a swap with Arizona. They’d never been traded before.
“I knew it was coming, so I wasn’t surprised,” Hanzal said. “It’s been a little emotional. Now I’m here and this is my new home.”
The deal was a sign of faith from general manager Chuck Fletcher. Hanzal, who had 16 goals and 10 assists in 51 games for Arizona, is in the final year of his contract. He’s a big center with stick skills and faceoff success.
“That’s Chuck telling us that he believes we can win in here,” goalie Devan Dubnyk said. “I think we all believe that anyway, but when he’s willing to go out and trade some draft picks for an opportunity to win this year that should let us know something for sure.”