Teams postpone hospital visits

In the wake of the baffling mumps outbreak that is wreaking havoc across the NHL, several teams have postponed their scheduled visits to local children's hospitals.

The New York Islanders were slated to visit six hospitals Wednesday, but instead chose to err on the side of caution, a team spokesperson told ESPN.com.

The Islanders do not have any players thus far who have exhibited symptoms of the disease -- the team was one of many that recently administered prophylactic vaccines -- but still felt it best to proceed with the utmost care.

"We're extremely disappointed that the event has been postponed, but understand the circumstances," Islanders forward Kyle Okposo said in a team-issued news release. "This has always been one of our favorite events to take part in because seeing a child smile when we give them a gift or take a picture with them, is what the holiday season is all about. We're happy the children will still receive the gifts and look forward to visiting the local hospitals soon."

The Calgary Flames also have decided to postpone their holiday visit to a children's hospital, a team spokesperson confirmed to ESPN.com, as have the Carolina Hurricanes and Minnesota Wild.

The Flames, who were slated to visit Alberta Children's Hospital on Wednesday, received vaccinations two weeks ago, and none of their players have exhibited symptoms. However, the team consulted with the hospital and decided postponement would be best.

Recently, the Pittsburgh Penguins visited the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh and might have unwittingly exposed several kids to the virus. Pens forward Beau Bennett, who was one of the players to participate in the function, was diagnosed Tuesday with the league's 15th case of the mumps. A spokesperson for the hospital said all children who had not already received an age-appropriate dosage of the vaccine would be placed in isolation and monitored for any signs of symptoms.

Those who had already received vaccinations were not considered to be at risk.

The St. Louis Blues visited various hospitals this past Wednesday; every player took part with the exception of David Backes, who had a mouth injury at the time.

The Anaheim Ducks postponed a visit last month.