NHL monitoring flu’s progression as third player diagnosed with H1N1

The National Hockey League says it’s keeping an eye on the swine flu’s progression after Washington Capitals forward Quintin Laing became at least the third player to be diagnosed with the illness.

TORONTO — The National Hockey League says it’s keeping an eye on the swine flu’s progression after Washington Capitals forward Quintin Laing became at least the third player to be diagnosed with the illness.

Capitals spokesman Nate Ewell told The Associated Press on Wednesday that Laing is being treated for H1N1 and is being kept away from the rest of the team.

Edmonton Oilers defenceman Ladislav Smid and Colorado Avalanche goalie Peter Budaj also have the swine flu, their teams said Tuesday.

The NHL has adopted no specific plans to try to contain the illness’s spread, but is ready to act should it need to.

“We have been regularly providing our clubs with updated information and recommendations as they become available,” the NHL said in a statement released to The Canadian Press. “We have not mandated specific precautions or courses of action. The league is monitoring the progression of the flu, but have implemented no specific ’contingency plans’ at this point in time. However, we will be prepared to do so should it become necessary.”

Laing sat out Washington’s 4-2 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday night and will miss at least the next two games, too.

Ewell said no other members of the Capitals have shown symptoms of the swine flu.

Smid logged nearly 20 minutes of ice time in Edmonton’s 3-0 loss to Colorado on Tuesday and did not miss any games due to his illness.

There are no other confirmed cases among the Oilers players, coaches and support staff, although the team has been hit hard by players suffering from seasonal flu illnesses as well as flu-like symptoms.

“The biggest thing is that our doctor has been talking to our players and we are doing everything to stay on top of this,” Oilers head coach Pat Quinn said Tuesday. “We have been cautious from Day 1 and hopefully we will be prepared to help our players get through this thing if indeed more players do contract the flu.”

Budaj didn’t accompany the Avalanche for the start of their four-game road trip, though he hopes to rejoin the team before it returns home.

Despite concerns over H1N1, the Vancouver Canucks aren’t changing their regular plan for dealing with seasonal flu.

“Nothing more than we’ve done in the past,” coach Alain Vigneault said when asked if additional preventive measures were being put in place this year. “We’ll give our guys shots after we’ve done this big stretch here (nine games in 17 days). The shots are planned for mid-November.

“Obviously we’re trying to … on the plane guys are using that (anti-bacterial) stuff for the hands a little bit more.”

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