Penguins’ Bennett visited kids hospital, may have mumps
Pittsburgh Penguins right wing Beau Bennett (19) and Boston Bruins left wing Simon Gagne (12) eye a loose puck during the third period of the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-2 overtime win at TD Garden on Nov 24, 2014 in Boston, MA, USA. (Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports)
The Pittsburgh Penguins are facing a potential PR nightmare in the wake of their outbreak of mumps.
Forward Beau Bennett, who is showing signs of the viral illness but has yet to be officially diagnosed with mumps, was among the contingent of Penguins that visited the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh last week, a Christmas tradition of the NHL team since 1970.
During the visit, Bennett met a number of children who are seriously ill and could have reduced immune systems. At the time, Bennett wasn’t showing signs of the mumps but carriers are contagious long before symptoms appear.
“They’re on top of the situation,” Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford said on the team’s website. “We feel bad about that. We tried to do a good thing and go to the Children’s Hospital and do different things in the community, but at that point in time, obviously, he was not tested to be positive.”
According to the Penguins, the hospital is testing anyone who may have been in contact with Bennett, who has been quarantined to prevent him spreading the disease.
“The tests will come back (Tuesday), so we don’t know whether it’s positive or not,” Rutherford said. “But we’ve taken the proper steps to make sure that he’s quarantined and not around anybody else at this point in time.”
Penguins star Sidney Crosby was diagnosed with the mumps on Sunday, a couple of days after showing up at the rink with a badly swollen face. Crosby is thought to be past the infectious stage and is expected to return to the team later this week.
Crosby and, potentially, Bennett, are the latest NHL players to get the mumps. At least a dozen players, from the New York Rangers, Anaheim Ducks and the Minnesota Wild, have been diagnosed with the virus.