A bacterial infection is spreading across the NHL, and it appears that the source is a locker room in Southern California.
Numerous players on the Blues have missed practices, and played sluggishly in games, for the past several days with what the team said was a flu. But just yesterday the Blues announced they were actually dealing with a team-wide bacterial infection. While a bacterial infection is more unusual than the flu, it's not uncommon for illnesses to spread rapidly among a group of people who spend practically all of their time together.
But then Wild defensive pair Christian Folin and Keith Ballard showed up to Thursday night's game against the Coyotes ill, so ill that they missed the game and won't play tonight either. According to the Star-Tribune they had your normal flu symptoms—"shivering, sweating, headache and incredible fatigue"—along with a strange one: swollen jaws. Huh?
Honestly, they both look like they have been punched in the face and teammates say it was unbelievably worse a few days ago. Kyle Brodziak said their jaws jutted out several inches.
To the Wild training staff swollen jaws indicated they had infections, not the flu. And that's when somebody went all Sherlock Holmes in a search for the cause. Here's what they found:
St. Louis Blues Schedule
Thursday, October 16th – @ Los Angeles Kings
Saturday, October 18th – @ Arizona Coyotes
Sunday October 19th – @ Anaheim Ducks
Minnesota Wild Schedule
Friday, October 17th – @ Anaheim Ducks
Sunday, October 19th – @ Los Angeles Kings
As it turns out, both teams were in the visiting locker rooms at the Staples Center and Honda Center within a couple of days of each other. While there is no definitive evidence that the infections are the same and were picked up in one of those arenas, it would be an awfully big coincidence if that weren't the case. Might the NHL be having their own (less serious) version of the MRSA crisis that engulfed the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last season?