DETROIT >> Many of the Detroit Red Wings admittedly knew very little about the mumps virus.
They’re all learning quickly now.
The virus is spreading throughout the NHL and it just claimed its biggest name yet when Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby was diagnosed over the weekend.
“It’s crazy,” Jimmy Howard said. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”
“I’m trying to stay away from any kind of sickness,” Riley Sheahan said. “I know a lot of guys are getting it so we just have to be extra cautious. It’s unfortunate for the guys that are getting it. We’re just trying to do things so we can’t get it.
“It’s kind of one of those things we don’t have anyone in the room that has it so we’ll just keep going with the flow,” Sheahan added.
The number of infected players is in double digits now spread out over five teams.
It’s also being reported that two referees have contracted the virus.
Mumps is spread through contact with respiratory secretions, such as saliva from an infected person or by sharing food and drinks.
The virus can also survive on surfaces and then be spread after contact in a similar manner.
The Wings organization is in the process of making booster shots available to players and team personnel.
“I understand a lot of the European players wouldn’t have (been vaccinated) so it’s important to provide the opportunity for them and that’s what we’re going to do,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “We’re going to provide it to everybody and get it looked after. In the meantime we’re encouraging everyone to do what they can for their immune system. We do that here anyway.
“Sleeping and not getting run down, that’s easy to say when you travel like we do,” continued Babcock, whose squad just finished playing five games in eight days. “The reason your immune system gets run down is because you do that stuff. Ideally this will get us refreshed and not get the mumps.”
The New York Rangers’ Derrick Brassard also was diagnosed with mumps on Sunday.
“We haven’t played anyone who recently had it, so we’ll keep our fingers crossed,” Howard said. “Until something happens in here I’m not worried about it.”
The Rangers played at Joe Louis Arena on Dec. 6.
“Oh, he does? Sweet,” Howard said when learning of Brassard’s positive test for the virus. “He was close the last time we played the Rangers. Yeah, sweet.”