MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Ryan Suter missed his first game since signing with the Minnesota Wild on Wednesday night, due to an illness.
A day later, the Wild found out what that illness is. And it’s an all-too familiar issue.
“Yeah,” Coach Mike Yeo said. “He’s got the mumps.”
That makes Suter the fifth Wild player with the mumps this season, confounding a team that’s trying to stop it from spreading.
“I mean, we’ve had the room cleaned and done everything … decontaminated or whatever you want to call it, but … I might have it in me, you might have it in you,” Yeo said. “So even if we decontaminate, we clean the room, even though I don’t have it, I might still be bringing it back into the room.”
After Keith Ballard, Marco Scandella, Jonas Brodin and Christian Folin — strangely all defensemen — all missed games with the nasty, contagious virus this season, there’s a definite “could I be next?” concern in the Wild locker room.
“Of course,” forward Zach Parise said. “We’re around each other all the time. We travel with each other, hotels together, you’re in the locker room together all the time, you’re sharing water bottles. I mean, of course you worry about it, it’s a scary thing.”
Yeo said the team is “doing everything we can.”
Back in early November when the first cases hit the locker room, the Wild did offer MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) booster shots to all players, coaches and staff. Yeo said he wasn’t sure whether or not Suter got one of those booster shots, but Zach Parise made one thing clear: They need to do more to make sure no one else gets it.
“Maybe we should talk about, a little more, about some prevention,” Parise said. “A lot of us have young kids at home. I mean, it’s serious.”
Somewhat amazingly, Yeo said he hasn’t yet ruled Suter out for Friday night’s game, saying that Suter was feeling better today and that different players have been affected differently.
Yeo also said he was not too concerned about a contagious player being on the ice and in the locker room.
“He’s a pretty important player to us,” Yeo said. “And obviously we try to take precautions with that. (But) whether he’s around or (not), it’s obviously around us. So I don’t know that that’s going to make a huge difference.”
Three other NHL teams — the Blues, Rangers and the Ducks — have had cases of the mumps go through their locker rooms as well.
“Try to wash your hands and do all you can not to get that,” forward Mikael Granlund said. “But you know, we’re all in the same locker room and stuff. So it’s around here.”
The Wild host the Ducks Friday at 7 p.m. at the Xcel Energy Center.