Harding is rock-solid in 'tryout'

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 21, 2013 - 11:24 AM

He's worked past a diagnosis of MS to play hockey, and a goal by Zach Parise made the Wild goalie a winner in a shutout.

Josh Harding has been a member of the Wild for nearly 11 years. But since revealing in November that he has been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, the goaltender feels this season is like "a tryout."

He's trying to prove to himself, the club and everybody else that he can "still do what I've been doing all my life."

Sunday night against the Dallas Stars, Harding overcame the butterflies and the self-doubt and aced that initial test during an uplifting 1-0 blanking.

In front of an announced crowd of 18,296 at Xcel Energy Center, Harding made 24 saves for his seventh career shutout.

Against the former North Stars -- the team his dad, J.P., coached and played for -- Zach Parise scored his first goal in a Wild sweater as Minnesota opened the season 2-0.

"It's been a tough couple months here," said Harding, 28. "This made it all worth it. I can't thank the team enough for having my back."

Harding revealed in November that he had been diagnosed with the debilitating autoimmune disease, one in which the body randomly attacks and eats away the protective lining of the nerves. It's incurable, but doctors are treating it aggressively.

Harding disclosed the illness because he didn't want there to be distractions that could hurt the team if the diagnosis was revealed during a shortened season.

"He's an inspiration," said Stars center Eric Nystrom, Harding's former Wild teammate.

Harding thanked the entire organization, from "the top down."

"It's one of the reasons I signed back here [last summer]," said Harding, who passed up free agency for a three-year, $5.7 million contract. "This is a family. I can't say enough about each and every guy in here. They haven't treated me differently, and I didn't expect them to."

Harding is also grateful to Wild doctor Dan Peterson and neurologist Jonathan Calkwood of the Minneapolis Clinic of Neurology.

"Words can't describe what they've done for me," Harding said. "I'm not kidding, I don't think I'd be here without those two guys. They've kind of saved me, and they made me believe."

Sunday morning, Wild coach Mike Yeo hoped aloud that Harding's teammates would play a "great game in front of him."

They did, limiting the Stars' chances and remedying many of the defensive scrambles they showed periodically in Saturday's season-opening victory against Colorado.

The Wild generated lots of quality chances but wasn't rewarded as much as it deserved thanks to the strong goaltending of Christopher Nilstorp, making his NHL debut at 28 years old. He made 31 saves.

And when the Wild did have a lapse, such as Ray Whitney's point-blank, shorthanded try with 70 seconds left, Harding was there.

The Cal Clutterbuck-Kyle Brodziak-Pierre-Marc Bouchard trio, along with Clayton Stoner and Tom Gilbert, drew most of the Loui Eriksson-Derek Roy-Jaromir Jagr matchups and did a superb job.

The Wild clung to a 1-0 lead after Parise's 195th career goal 8:11 into the game. It came after Jagr held Brodziak, turning a Stars 4-on-4 into a 4-on-3 Wild power play for 1:25.

The Stars twice broke sticks, essentially turning it into a 4-on-2. Just as the power play expired, Parise took Bouchard's feed and whistled a one-timer from 45 feet.

"You ... you should score there," Parise said, laughing.

Harding didn't sleep a wink Saturday night. He was that nervous. But his first test was a success. "I can't predict the future," he said. "I can only control what goes on day to day. And I'm doing everything in my power to make sure I'm ready to go. And it was just a great feeling coming out here and backstopping the team to a win."

  • WILD 1, DALLAS 0

    Up next: 7 p.m. Tuesday vs. Nashville

    Xcel Energy Center • TV: FSN (100.3-FM)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

NY Yankees 0 Bottom 4th Inning
Toronto 2
Detroit 3 Top 4th Inning
Chicago WSox 5
Chicago Cubs 0 Top 1st Inning
St. Louis 0
Cincinnati - A. Simon 3:05 PM
Pittsburgh - V. Worley
Minnesota - K. Gibson 6:05 PM
Baltimore - C. Tillman
Philadelphia - J. Williams 6:10 PM
NY Mets - B. Colon
Miami - J. Cosart 6:10 PM
Atlanta - A. Harang
Boston - A. Webster 6:10 PM
Tampa Bay - J. Odorizzi
Cleveland - T. Bauer 6:10 PM
Kansas City - J. Shields
Detroit - K. Ryan 6:10 PM
Chicago WSox - C. Bassitt
Texas - R. Ross Jr. 6:10 PM
Houston - S. Feldman
Colorado - T. Matzek 7:10 PM
Arizona - V. Nuno
Chicago Cubs - T. Wada 7:15 PM
St. Louis - M. Gonzales
Los Angeles - Z. Greinke 7:40 PM
San Diego - I. Kennedy
Milwaukee - M. Fiers 8:05 PM
San Francisco - J. Peavy
Oakland - J. Samardzija 8:05 PM
LA Angels - C. Rasmus
Washington - S. Strasburg 8:10 PM
Seattle - R. Elias
Green Bay 9/4/14 7:30 PM
Seattle
BYU 35 FINAL
Connecticut 10
(6) Jacksonville St 7 FINAL
(8) Michigan State 45
Bowling Green 31 FINAL
Western Ky 59
TX-San Antonio 27 FINAL
Houston 7
Colorado State 31 FINAL
Colorado 17
UNLV 13 FINAL
Arizona 58
Penn State 26 FINAL
UCF 24
Troy 10 3rd Qtr 9:10
UAB 24
(7) UCLA 21 3rd Qtr 7:33
Virginia 17
Western Mich 14 3rd Qtr 12:15
Purdue 23
(5) Ohio State 13 3rd Qtr 8:45
Navy 14
Appalachian St 7 3rd Qtr 7:12
Michigan 42
Ga Southern 17 3rd Qtr 12:20
NC State 3
Boston College 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
West Virginia 2:30 PM
(2) Alabama
Rice 2:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
(10) South Dakota St 2:30 PM
(24) Missouri
Fla Atlantic 2:30 PM
(22) Nebraska
California 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Marshall 2:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
UC Davis 3:00 PM
(11) Stanford
Arkansas 3:00 PM
(6) Auburn
(16) Clemson 4:30 PM
(12) Georgia
Liberty 5:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Ohio U 5:00 PM
Kent State
Louisiana Tech 6:00 PM
(4) Oklahoma
Idaho 6:00 PM
Florida
Stephen F Austin 6:10 PM
(20) Kansas State
Fresno State 6:30 PM
(15) USC
Southern Miss 6:30 PM
Miss State
Texas-El Paso 7:00 PM
New Mexico
North Texas 7:00 PM
Texas
(1) Florida State 7:00 PM
Oklahoma State
(14) Wisconsin 8:00 PM
(13) LSU
South Dakota 9:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(25) Washington 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Utah State 8/31/14 6:00 PM
Tennessee
SMU 8/31/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
Miami-Florida 9/1/14 7:00 PM
Louisville
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Pittsburgh 9/5/14 6:00 PM
Boston College
Washington St 9/5/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
SMU 9/6/14 11:00 AM
North Texas
Fla Atlantic 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(2) Alabama
Buffalo 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Army
(24) Missouri 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Toledo
Arkansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
(8) McNeese State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(22) Nebraska
Central Mich 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Akron 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
Western Ill 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(14) Wisconsin
(20) Kansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
(4) Oklahoma 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tulsa
Western Ky 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
SC State 9/6/14 11:30 AM
(16) Clemson
Navy 9/6/14 12:00 PM
Temple
UAB 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Miss State
South Alabama 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Kent State
New Mexico St 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Colorado 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Fresno State 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Utah
(1) Eastern Wash 9/6/14 2:00 PM
(25) Washington
(15) USC 9/6/14 2:30 PM
(11) Stanford
Ohio U 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Middle Tennessee 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Minnesota
Northern Ill 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Missouri State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Ball State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Iowa
Maryland 9/6/14 2:30 PM
So Florida
Eastern Mich 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Florida
Georgia Tech 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Tulane
(18) Ole Miss 9/6/14 3:30 PM
Vanderbilt
Old Dominion 9/6/14 5:00 PM
NC State
(8) Michigan State 9/6/14 5:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(19) Arizona State 9/6/14 6:00 PM
New Mexico
Louisiana Tech 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
San Jose St 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(6) Auburn
East Carolina 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Duke 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Troy
Idaho 9/6/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(17) Sam Houston St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(13) LSU
Michigan 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
Lamar 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(21) Texas A&M
Northwestern St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
BYU 9/6/14 6:30 PM
Texas
Citadel 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(1) Florida State
San Diego St 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Virginia Tech 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(5) Ohio State
Memphis 9/6/14 9:00 PM
(7) UCLA
Colorado State 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Boise State
Air Force 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Wyoming
Oregon State 9/6/14 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Texas Tech 9/6/14 10:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Colorado 3:00 PM
Seattle
New England 4:00 PM
Toronto FC
Columbus 6:30 PM
Montreal
FC Dallas 7:30 PM
Chicago
Real Salt Lake 9:30 PM
San Jose
Portland 9:30 PM
Vancouver FC
Ottawa 10 FINAL
Montreal 20
Winnipeg 8/31/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Calgary
Brt Columbia 9/5/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Saskatchewan 9/7/14 3:00 PM
Winnipeg
Chicago 6:00 PM
Indiana
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Which local pro team are you most excited about?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close