Yeo has some backup plans if Harding isn't ready to go

  • Article by: KENT YOUNGBLOOD , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 10, 2012 - 9:38 PM

According to Wild coach Mike Yeo, the Wild has a Plan A, a Plan B and a Plan C when it comes to the team's backup goaltending situation.


Wild goalie Josh Harding (37) left the Phoenix game because of injury with the help from trainer Don Fuller, as Matt Hackett came in.

Photo: Ross D. Franklin, Associated Press

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According to Wild coach Mike Yeo, the Wild has a Plan A, a Plan B and a Plan C when it comes to the team's backup goaltending situation.

Plan A is Josh Harding.

Harding sustained a lower body injury during the Wild's game at Phoenix on Thursday. Matt Hackett replaced him, finished the game, got the victory and will start against Calgary on Sunday at Xcel Energy Center. The good news is that a doctor's visit showed Harding's injury is not long-term, and the hope is he will be deemed able to be the backup after skating Sunday morning.

"We'll have a better idea in the morning," Yeo said after the team practiced Saturday at St. Thomas Academy, with defenseman Mike Lundin's brother, Matt, filling in as the second goaltender. "I know we got some positive news at the doctor's office [Friday], and so we'll see how he feels."

But if Harding isn't ready?

Yeo said they had two other possibilities waiting in the wings. But he wouldn't divulge what those options were.

"We have them ready go to, we're prepared," Yeo said. "We'll have a better idea in the morning."

Koivu practices

For the first time since re-injuring his left shoulder in mid-February, center and captain Mikko Koivu returned to practice Saturday. Koivu wore a red, no-contact sweater.

But don't expect to see Koivu on the ice any time soon. Yeo wouldn't say for sure whether Koivu would play again this season at all. "No question we'd love to have him back," he said. "You cannot possibly overstate how important he is to our team. Having said that, we're going to make sure he's 100 percent before he comes back."

Still, Koivu's presence on the ice seemed to push the intensity level of the practice a little higher.

"Sometimes when you're not at your own building, the atmosphere [for practice] is not great," Yeo said. "But I know that today it was very high. I think a lot of that has to do with the guys seeing [Koivu] on the ice."


• Defenseman Jared Spurgeon, who missed Thursday's game due to illness, was back at practice, still feeling a little run-down, according to Yeo. But Spurgeon will play Sunday. Forward Devin Setoguchi also is battling an illness but will play.

• Defenseman Clayton Stoner (lower body) continued practicing and might be ready to return against Calgary. That decision will be made after Stoner, who has been out since early February, skates Sunday morning. With Spurgeon ill, Stoner dressed, but did not play, in Phoenix.

• Left winger Cal Clutterbuck, who missed Thursday's game because of an illness, did not practice Saturday and is doubtful for Sunday.

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