Players on both the St. Louis Blues and the Minnesota Wild are experiencing flu-like symptoms and other physical ailments that have, or will, keep them out of action for a bit.
Star Tribune beat writer Mike Russo has a theory:
I’m no doc, but #stlblues bacteria issue are same symptoms (swollen jaws) as #mnwild. 1 common denominator: Both in ANA & LA rooms last week
— Michael Russo (@Russostrib) October 25, 2014
Might be time to put on the old tinfoil hat, kids. (Or hazmat suit, you pick.)
Like Russo, I am not a doctor or any sort of infectious disease specialist. Yes, the Wild and the Blues were in Southern California in the past week in the visitors locker rooms. As were the Bluejackets and the Sabres. Oh, and a few NBA teams for exhibition games at Honda Center and Staples Center. They all appear to be fine…for now.
Patient Zero for St. Louis appears to be Jori Lehtera. From Blues beat writer Lou Korac:
“The Blues have … been dealing with a bacterial infection that’s affected players in the locker room.
“It started with center Jori Lehtera, who felt sick after a 6-1 victory against the Arizona Coyotes last Saturday that caused him to miss the team’s 3-0 loss against the Anaheim Ducks the following night.
“Lehtera missed practice Tuesday but was back at practice Wednesday and played in a 4-1 loss to the Vancouver Canucks [in St. Louis] on Thursday, a game in which multiple Blues players played after contracting the infection ...”
Felt sick before even getting to Anaheim. Doesn’t mean he didn’t pass along whatever he had to his teammates, though. Hockey players are just like us! They spend a ton of time with the people they work with, and there is always that one guy who insists on coming to work despite being having a fever, runny nose, and hacking cough.
One other note: both the Blues and Wild had extended layoffs before even venturing to So Cal. St. Louis had four days off before playing Los Angeles, and the Wild had five days off before taking on Anaheim. Incubation period be damned!
If others are offering conspiracy theories, here’s mine:
Lehtera of the Blues became sick after playing the Arizona Coyotes. Now the Wild are sick and the last team they played was … wait for it … the Coyotes. Arizona players are (allegedly) licking opponents. That odd strategy could explain their start to the season.