UPDATE: Ballard and Folin were sent to Regions Hospital this afternoon for blood tests to rule out maladies like mumps. They also may not accompany the team on the upcoming road trip to New York and Boston. The Wild's trainers touched base today with the Blues' trainers.

Afternoon from Xcel Energy Center, where I'll spend the day heading into tonight's Wild clash with Steven Stamkos, Jonathan Drouin and the Tampa Bay Lightning.

If you didn't get to see it, check out my story here in today's Star Tribune about a fire that could have turned tragic had Chuck Fletcher not woken up at the Wild's hockey ops and business team retreat in August. The lake house where Fletcher, assistant GM Brent Flahr and Iowa GM Jim Mill slept burned to the ground and was fully engulfed within minutes of Fletcher thankfully awaking.

Tonight, owner Craig Leipold is having the all-volunteer Drummond and Cable Fire Departments at the game as a thank you.

I got some questions as to why this is the first I'm writing about it. Basically, I found out about the incident roughly a week later. At the time, Leipold and the others were too shaken up to talk to me about what happened. They were all still pretty much rattled, and since I didn't have all the information of what happened, I didn't write anything.

However, the past few months, I pursued the interviews. Finally about two weeks ago, I found out the Wild was having the departments at this game to thank them. I reached out to Leipold again to see if he would talk to me and if I could interview some of the people there. Last weekend, he got back to me and said it would be OK.

So, basically, since I didn't have all the accurate information at the time and what would make the story would be interviews and pictures, I waited until I could feature it accurately and fully.


Darcy Kuemper vs. Evgeni Nabokov tonight.

--Defensemen Keith Ballard and Christian Folin, who were supposed to be the third pair against Arizona until they both mysteriously arrived ill the same day, won't play, and it turns out, this was not your ordinary flu.

Ballard and Folin both had flu-like symptoms like shivering, sweating, headache and incredible fatigue, but it started with swollen jaws. Honestly, they both look like they have been punched in the face and teammates say it was unbelievably worse a few days ago. Kyle Brodziak said their jaws jutted out several inches.

As it turns out, the St. Louis Blues are going through the exact same symptoms right now and have diagnosed it as some kind of bacterial infection.

The common denominator: The Blues and Wild were in the same visitors' locker rooms at Anaheim and at Los Angeles last week and weekend, and Blues coach Ken Hitchcock told St. Louis reporters, "It starts with one person, and then it's passed very quickly through water bottles, or a towel, or whatever, the shower floor. It just goes, like 'right now,' goes zipping through your team."

Several Blues have missed time with it. The trainers for St. Louis and Minnesota were expected to talk this afternoon. The Wild obviously want to nip this in the bud because as of now, only two Wild players have been infected (not several like St. Louis).

Like the Blues, the Wild has sterilized everything since, and the Wild trainers completely disinfected the equipment for Folin and Ballard. The two have been on antibiotics and Ballard said he's feeling a little better.

He still looks pretty run down though.

-- I chatted with Mikko Koivu, who seemed to have a running feud with linesman Brad Lazarowich the other night. Lazarowich, one of the two linesmen tonight, booted Koivu from the circle at least a half-dozen times. I didn't count, but linemate Charlie Coyle did take eight faceoffs.

Some times it seemed Lazarowich kicked Koivu out before he even got set, including a few times in the defensive zone late in the game, which is a bit of an issue in a tight game. Let's be honest: Koivu is the ONLY Wild center winning draws consistently this season and is always near the top of the NHL in draws.

Koivu didn't want to get into the battle with the linesman, but a few teammates even told me Coyotes goalie Mike Smith asked a few why the linesman didn't want Koivu taking draws on this night.

Koivu said, "You just get nights when your timing is off. You don't always agree with it, but they do it the right way. Sometimes on the power play, they don't let you cheat, which is the way it should be. Also, we hadn't played in a couple days, so maybe my timing was off."

Coach Mike Yeo said he'll keep an eye on it, but he also said it's an insurance policy having Charlie Coyle on the same line. Coyle has improved in the circle.

-- Expect to see a lot of Erik Haula against the Drouin-Valtteri Filppula-Stamkos line. Haula says it's a pride thing, and Yeo said Haula is a good matchup because of his speed. Obviously, the best defense is playing in the offensive zone, so Yeo hopes Nino Niederreiter and Justin Fontaine, two smart offensive guys who are good on the wall, can help complement Haula.

-- Kyle Brodziak will be scratched for a fourth consecutive game. This is a guy who in five prior seasons with the Wild missed three games -- all for injury or illness (no scratches until one game last playoffs).

If you know Brodziak, not a shock that at least outwardly he's trying to remain positive and be a good teammate.

Brodziak will have his time to get in. The Wild has four man games lost to injury/illness total this season, two by Fontaine in Games 1 and 2. So there just hasn't been an injury yet to get Brodziak in, but there's a lot of games coming up. And so far, Yeo likes Ryan Carter's game.

"If you do get an opportunity, you've got to be ready for it," 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."

As I have reported multiple times and again in training camp, the Wild has shopped the $3 million Brodziak, but my guess is the Wild is not champing at the bit to move him. He's still a player Yeo trusts to play in every situation, and if you trade Brodziak and sustain injuries, you're then relying on minor-league depth centers to fill the void.

-- Speaking of Iowa, very bad news, but defenseman Gustav Olofsson, the 2013 second-round pick, underwent shoulder surgery. He will miss up to four months.

"He had a lingering injury that he was going to try to play through with constant rehab," Flahr said in an email. "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."