Wild goalie Harding sidelined for MS treatment adjustment

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 19, 2013 - 9:17 AM

The goalie is expected to be back for the Dec. 27 game at Winnipeg.

 

– Soon after the Wild touched down in Pittsburgh late Wednesday afternoon to begin a three-game road trip Thursday, the team announced that goaltender Josh Harding wasn’t on the flight.

Harding, the Wild’s rock through the first 36 games and maybe the NHL’s biggest surprise this season, was placed on injured reserve to make a minor adjustment to his treatment protocol for multiple sclerosis, General Manager Chuck Fletcher said.

He must miss a minimum of one week, meaning the next three games. Fletcher said the Wild is confident that Harding will be able to rejoin the team Dec. 27 in Winnipeg.

“This is not a major situation at all,” Fletcher said. “This didn’t come out of the blue. I’ve been talking to Josh for a while about this. He needs to make an adjustment in his protocols, and now is a good time to do it [with the Dec. 24-26 holiday break on the horizon].

“He feels good. He played well [Tuesday] night, but it’s just something that has to be taken care of.”

Harding made 29 saves and wasn’t beaten by any of Vancouver’s three shooters in the Wild’s 3-2 shootout victory on Tuesday. It was Harding’s 18th win, which is second in the NHL.

The Wild’s longtime No. 2 goalie never relinquished the No. 1 reins after Niklas Backstrom, the team’s all-time leader with 186 wins, strained a knee Oct. 8 in Nashville. Harding leads the NHL with a 1.51 goals-against average and is second with a .939 save percentage.

He missed two months last season because of complications with his medication, but Fletcher said, “This is not a setback. This is not a situation where something occurred in the last 24 hours. From a hockey standpoint, we’re all confident he’ll be back after Christmas and play.”

Johan Gustafsson was recalled from Iowa of the American Hockey League to back up Backstrom, who presumably will start at least two of the next three games. That will be Thursday in Pittsburgh and likely Sunday against the New York Rangers.

If Backstrom is unable to start Monday’s second half of a back-to-back in Philadelphia, it’s unclear whether Gustafsson would make his NHL debut or if the Wild would recall No. 3 goalie Darcy Kuemper.

Earlier this season, the Wild twice recalled Gustafsson to back up three games before recalling Kuemper to play. Kuemper started for Iowa on Wednesday night against Grand Rapids, and Iowa has consecutive home games Friday and Saturday against Hamilton and San Antonio.

Kuemper has struggled in his two NHL appearances this season. He is 0-1 with a 6.10 goals-against average and .625 save percentage. He is 6-9 with Iowa with a 2.68 GAA and .923 save percentage.

In the meantime, the Wild’s cage — for now — belongs to Backstrom again. He is 2-5-2 this season with a 2.93 GAA and .900 save percentage. Backstrom tied for the league lead with 24 wins last season, but he hasn’t looked the same since offseason surgery to repair a sports hernia.

His lateral movement has improved recently, but his rebound control has been an issue. Besides the knee injury, Backstrom has sustained a concussion this season and recently had a virus that resulted in weight loss.

“But I talked to him a few days ago and he feels as well now as he has all season,” Fletcher said. “We all have complete faith in Backy. He’s played some great games for us this year and had been one of the top goaltenders in the league over his entire career.

“The guy can play goal and has won a lot of games in this league.”

 

  • related content

  • Rand: Time for Wild's Backstrom to step up

    Thursday December 19, 2013

    Josh Harding has played so startlingly well this season that it's easy to forget he was the No. 2 goalie coming into the year for the Wild.

  • Gameday preview: Wild at Pittsburgh

    Wednesday December 18, 2013

    wild gameday6 p.m. at Pittsburgh • consol energy center • FSN, 100.3-FMPreview: The Penguins, who defeated the Rangers 4-3 in...

  • Wild coach Yeo renews friendship with Pittsburgh's Bylsma

    Thursday December 19, 2013

    Mike Yeo is back in Pittsburgh to face his old boss, Dan Bylsma, on Thursday night.

  • Josh Harding career statistics

    Monday November 17, 2014

  • Josh Harding leads the NHL with a 1.51 goals-against average, but he’ll sit three games.

  • Wild goalie Josh Harding missed two months last season because of complications with his medication to treat multiple sclerosis.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Seattle
Detroit 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
Portland 6:00 PM
Cleveland
Sacramento 6:30 PM
Toronto
Boston 7:00 PM
Minnesota
Dallas 7:00 PM
Houston
Denver 7:00 PM
New Orleans
Brooklyn 7:00 PM
Atlanta
Oklahoma City 7:00 PM
New York
Charlotte 7:30 PM
San Antonio
LA Clippers 8:00 PM
Utah
Washington 9:30 PM
Phoenix
Toronto 6:30 PM
New Jersey
Pittsburgh 7:00 PM
Washington
Chicago 9:30 PM
Los Angeles
Temple 6:00 PM
UCF
Winthrop 6:00 PM
Coastal Carolina
Lafayette 6:00 PM
Colgate
Northeastern 6:00 PM
Drexel
Wake Forest 6:00 PM
Florida State
Rhode Island 6:00 PM
Fordham
Delaware 6:00 PM
James Madison
South Carolina 6:00 PM
LSU
New Hampshire 6:00 PM
Maine
Seton Hall 6:00 PM
Marquette
Binghamton 6:00 PM
UMBC
American Univ 6:00 PM
Navy
Elon 6:00 PM
UNC-Wilmington
Wright State 6:00 PM
Oakland
Minnesota 6:00 PM
Penn State
Duquesne 6:00 PM
Richmond
SMU 6:00 PM
South Florida
Hartford 6:00 PM
Stony Brook
Albany 6:00 PM
Vermont
Hofstra 6:00 PM
William & Mary
UNC-Asheville 6:00 PM
Longwood
Radford 6:30 PM
Char Southern
Holy Cross 0 Postponed
Loyola-Maryland 0
Duke 6:30 PM
Notre Dame
Texas Tech 6:30 PM
Oklahoma
Oregon State 7:00 PM
Arizona State
Morehead State 7:00 PM
Austin Peay
Drake 7:00 PM
Bradley
Lehigh 7:00 PM
Bucknell
Rice 7:00 PM
Houston
Missouri State 7:00 PM
Illinois State
Loyola-Chicago 7:00 PM
Wichita State
Nebraska Omaha 7:00 PM
South Dakota St
Northern Iowa 7:05 PM
Southern Ill
Louisville 8:00 PM
Boston College
St Johns 8:00 PM
Creighton
East Carolina 8:00 PM
Memphis
Georgia Tech 8:00 PM
Miami-Florida
Miss State 8:00 PM
Ole Miss
Clemson 8:00 PM
NC State
Indiana 8:00 PM
Purdue
Kansas 8:00 PM
TCU
Oregon 9:00 PM
Arizona
Air Force 9:00 PM
San Jose St
Stanford 10:00 PM
Washington
Rider 52 2nd Half 1:16
Siena 46
Dayton 34 1st Half 1:02
Richmond 29
Eastern Kentucky 17 1st Half 9:33
Jacksonville St 21
Saint Josephs 0 Postponed
Saint Louis 0
UMBC 6:00 PM
Binghamton
Akron 6:00 PM
Ohio U
Ball State 6:00 PM
Miami-Ohio
Memphis 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
East Carolina 6:00 PM
(2) Connecticut
Murray State 6:00 PM
Eastern Illinois
Kent State 6:00 PM
Central Michigan
UT Martin 6:00 PM
Tennessee St
Eastern Michigan 6:00 PM
Western Mich
Bucknell 6:00 PM
Lehigh
Indiana 6:00 PM
Michigan State
Colgate 6:00 PM
Lafayette
Fordham 6:00 PM
Davidson
Duquesne 6:00 PM
St Bonaventure
George Mason 6:00 PM
VA Commonwealth
Detroit 6:00 PM
Youngstown St
Army 0 Postponed
Boston U 0
Loyola-Maryland 0 Postponed
Holy Cross 0
SMU 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Oklahoma St 7:00 PM
Kansas State
West Virginia 7:00 PM
Texas Tech
Denver 7:00 PM
South Dakota
Northwestern St 7:00 PM
Central Arkansas
Austin Peay 7:00 PM
SIU-Edwardsville
Kansas 7:00 PM
Iowa State
Bowling Green 7:00 PM
Northern Ill
Penn State 7:00 PM
Minnesota
San Jose St 8:00 PM
Air Force
Boise State 8:00 PM
Colorado State
Utah State 8:00 PM
Wyoming
San Diego State 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Nevada 9:00 PM
UNLV

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: What chance does the Wild have of making the playoffs?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close