The thing about mumps is that it's contagious well before you even realize you have it. Who knows what Sidney Crosby was licking and spitting on before his face swelled up like a decorative, seasonal gourd. But we know what forward Beau Bennett, the latest stricken Penguin, was up to: hanging out with kids with compromised immune systems!
The Penguins announced today that Bennett has shown symptoms of the mumps, and has been quarantined. Thirteen players on five different teams, including Crosby, have been confirmed to have the pernicious viral disease, with a couple more test results pending, plus several undiagnosed cases that have come and gone. Being vaccinated, even getting a recent booster shot, won't necessarily protect you from contracting it. It's a big deal, and now it's in the Penguins locker room.
Last Thursday, the Penguins kept up a longtime team tradition and visited patients at UPMC Children's Hospital. A dozen or so players came to brighten the spirits of some sick kids. Beau Bennett was among them. That's him handing over the teddy bear in the photo above.
Hospital officials say they're aware of the situation, and are testing staff and patients who may have come in contact with him. The Penguins' medical staff has already been criticized for letting Crosby be around his teammates after he began showing symptoms.
The 1919 Stanley Cup Finals were tied at two games apiece when the series and the season was called off due to the Spanish flu pandemic.