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Mooseheads react to flu scare, expect to be ready for opener

Cam Charron
Buzzing The Net

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Halifax Mooseheads right wing Martin Frk

After a flu scare forced the cancellation of two pre-season games this week, the Halifax Mooseheads hope to have all of their players back practicing Wednesday, general manager Cam Russell told Buzzing the Net on Tuesday.

There was no word out of the Mooseheads organization on which of their 24 listed players missed games, all they stated was that they were left with an "inoperable number of players" for their final two pre-season games at Harbour Station and the Halifax Forum against the Saint John Sea Dogs.

"We've got a few of the guys back practicing," said Russell. "Three of the guys are back in school, and barring the bug picks up, all of the guys will be back practicing tomorrow. The virus has run its course."

Apparently this bug wasn't restricted simply to Halifax. From Willy Palov on Tuesday morning:

The Mooseheads called in an infectious disease specialist on Monday to assess their players after the team doctor informed them they were suffering from something other than the flu.

"We had our doctor checking our players every day and swabs were done and they came back negative for influenza," Russell said. "So our doctor contacted an infectious disease guy and he said there is a virus going around Halifax right now but that it's something that will pass." [Chronicle Herald]

Russell also downplayed our own blog's concern that there was the possibility that the Mooseheads players, and all QMJHL players, were being overworked by the month-long pre-season and delayed regular season start. Camps started back in mid-August and many "Q" teams had their rosters set before the start of September.

"We gave our guys five days off and have been managing rest appropriately," said Russell. "Rest is a weapon for us."

He stressed that he pushed his players hard in training camp, but that's no different than any other year. The difference this year is apparently a small early flu strain going around Halifax that manifested itself in the Mooseheads locker room and spread to the players.

So the only lasting effect once players have returned to school, as noted in the Palov story from above, is that Martin Frk's suspension will carry over into the regular season. After taking a spearing major in a preseason game against Cape Breton on September 9, the Detroit Red Wings pick from June was suspended for the final two pre-season games.

But since those games didn't happen, the league announced Monday that they'd carry over the suspension to the start of the regular season, which conveniently takes place in Cape Breton, on Friday. Hopefully the Mooseheads still have enough operable players going forward for that game.

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