Jets get shot in the arm

Immunization for all as mumps plague NHL

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The most important shots taken by the Winnipeg Jets Tuesday night happened right after their game.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 28/02/2017 (2097 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The most important shots taken by the Winnipeg Jets Tuesday night happened right after their game.

No, they didn’t result in any scoring chances or goals, but team officials are hoping they allow players to remain on the ice — rather than in isolation.

Players were offered voluntary immunization for mumps after they left the ice against the Minnesota Wild, who are currently battling an outbreak that has already sidelined two key forwards and an assistant coach.

Trevor Hagan / The Canadian Press The Winnipeg Jets were inoculated against the mumps after Tuesday's game. Celebrations such as this one after Mark Scheifele’s third-period goal against the Minnesota Wild could spread diseases such as the mumps if players aren't immunized.

“Just get a shot and hope for the best,” Jets captain Blake Wheeler said earlier in the day about his unusual post-game plans.

Members of the Vancouver Canucks were the first to begin showing symptoms of the highly contagious viral disease last weekend. Defenceman Troy Stecher was officially diagnosed with mumps while six other players and a team trainer exhibited symptoms.

Next up was the Minnesota Wild, where Zach Parise and Jason Pominville came down with it on Monday, along with assistant coach Scott Stevens. That has everyone within the organization on guard, including head coach Bruce Boudreau.

“I just stay away. I’m already fat enough. I don’t need to get lumpy any more,” he said Tuesday morning following his team’s morning skate at the MTS Centre. He was crossing his fingers that it wouldn’t extend beyond the three who’ve already been identified.

“Vancouver started it. There’s an incubation period of 12-25 days and we were there in that time frame. Somehow they caught it from something in Vancouver. Or we brought it. I don’t know. I don’t have a clue, but everybody (else) is healthy as of this moment,” said Boudreau.

 

Minnesota won 5-4 in overtime on Monday against the Los Angeles Kings, triggering an on-ice celebration where Wild players were rubbing gloves in each other’s faces.

“If someone had it in that pile then we all got it,” forward Eric Staal joked with media following the game.

This is the second time in three years mumps has infiltrated the National Hockey League. In the 2014-15 season, approximately two dozen players from five different teams showed symptoms.

One of those squads was the Anaheim Ducks, which Boudreau was coaching at the time. Mathieu Perreault was also a member of the team, and the current Winnipeg Jets forward expressed surprise on Tuesday that the issue has returned. He also planned to take advantage of the post-game shots being offered.

Jets coach Paul Maurice has never dealt with a mumps outbreak but did have five players go down with the flu at the same time earlier this season while in a busy stretch of games.

“You never tell anybody because you don’t want them to know, but it can really set you back quite a bit, especially when you play four-in-six and the energy level just isn’t there,” he said Tuesday.

Maurice said aside from the immunizations, no additional measures were being put in place on Tuesday, as home and visitor dressing rooms are sanitized daily and water bottles are always sterilized. As well, players have the option of getting their equipment sanitized on a regular basis.

mike.mcintyre@freepress.mb.ca

 

Mike McIntyre

Mike McIntyre
Sports columnist

Mike McIntyre grew up wanting to be a professional wrestler. But when that dream fizzled, he put all his brawn into becoming a professional writer.

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