The Chicago Blackhawks will be looking forward to a bit of rest and relaxation as they finally get some time off on their schedule, but before they can kick their feet up they have to deal with the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday night at the United Center.
Unfortunately for the Blackhawks, they will be playing the game short-handed, as defenseman Duncan Keith will miss the contest due to illness. The defending Norris Trophy winner only missed three games all of last season, and this season he’s been putting up similar numbers to that award-winning campaign, scoring six goals and dishing out 12 assists in 31 games for the Blackhawks.
With the NHL’s ongoing mumps outbreak, head coach Joel Quenneville was asked whether or not Keith was affected by the disease. His response did little to inspire confidence:
We’ll surely find out in the next few days if Keith has it, but if he does, he would join a growing list of players who have been diagnosed. Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby was diagnosed with the disease in the last few days, and his teammate Beau Bennett is showing mumps-like symptoms. Players from the New Jersey Devils, St. Louis Blues, New York Rangers, Minnesota Wild, and Anaheim Ducks have all contracted the disease this season.
“We’re doing everything we can to prevent it,” Quenneville added.
The Blackhawks have declined comment when asked in the past what they have been doing to prevent mumps from spreading into their locker room, but other teams have instituted mandatory vaccine booster shots and other protocols in recent weeks.