Medical trainers for the Wild and St. Louis Blues compared notes Saturday afternoon when it was revealed that ill-stricken players for both teams had similar symptoms.
Several Blues players were ravaged all week with the same sounding sickness that sidelined Wild defensemen Keith Ballard and Christian Folin from two games, including Saturday's against the Tampa Bay Lightning, and one practice.
The symptoms included fatigue, shivering, body aches and began with swollen jaws. Both Ballard and Folin looked Saturday like they were punched in the face, "and it was way, way worse a few days ago," teammate Kyle Brodziak said.
The Blues originally thought their players were stricken by the flu, but now it's believed to be some kind of other virus or bacterial infection. Perhaps a coincidence, perhaps not, the Blues and Wild spent time in the visitors' locker room at both Anaheim and Los Angeles late last week and into the weekend.
"It starts with one person, and then it's passed very quickly through water bottles, or a towel, or whatever, the shower floor," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock told St. Louis reporters. "It just goes … zipping through your team."
As of now, only two Wild players have been affected, so the Wild's trying to nip it in the bud. Ballard and Folin, who both skated Saturday morning, were sent to Regions Hospital on Saturday afternoon for blood tests to rule out maladies like the mumps. The Wild leaves Sunday for a two-game trip to the Rangers and Bruins, and Ballard and Folin will not accompany the team.
They were put on antibiotics a few days ago, "so we shouldn't be contagious," Ballard said. "I don't know what's going on, but it was awful."
Wild equipment trainers have sterilized the Wild locker room and disinfected the equipment for Ballard and Folin. Players are using separate water bottles and are being cautious with towels.
Olofsson sidelined by shoulder injury
Iowa Wild defenseman Gustav Olofsson, drafted 46th overall in 2013, will miss up to four months after shoulder surgery.
"He had a lingering injury that he was going to try to play through with constant rehab," assistant GM Brent Flahr wrote in an e-mail. "He was going to need surgery at years end regardless, but he kept having issues, so everyone felt it was best to have surgery now and take care of it once and for all. It's too bad."
Brodziak out of lineup
Brodziak was scratched a fourth consecutive game Saturday. This is a veteran who missed only three regular-season games in five prior seasons with the Wild, and all for injury or illness.
But he has been a lineup casualty because of Ryan Carter's addition. Coach Mike Yeo has valued Carter's physicality (led Wild in hits before Saturday's game and penalty killing).
"I've been around this game long enough to see many instances where a guy like that is out of the lineup and next thing you know he comes in and he never comes back out again," Yeo said. "We don't know where it's going to go. What I really like is he's controlling what he can control right now — his effort and his attitude. All things have been great, and he's giving himself a good chance to make sure he's real good once he gets in."
Yeo said the Wild will need Brodziak. He trusts him in all situations, but as of now, the schedule has been light, there have been no injuries and he likes Carter's game.
Brodziak said, "It's not easy all the time coming to the rink when you know you're not going to be in, but you just try your best to keep a positive attitude and to work as hard as you can. If I do get a chance, hopefully it'll be an opportunity to keep myself in the lineup and not have to do this again."