Wild's Harding stays on task with Game 2 in Chicago on deck

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 2, 2013 - 12:09 AM

An inspirational showing in an emergency start earned Josh Harding compliments, but the Wild goalie is keeping his focus on Game 2.

 

Whether he wants to be or not — and he doesn’t — Josh Harding continued to be a major story around hockey Wednesday, one day after being called upon at the last second to play goalie for the Wild in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Harding, making his first career playoff start and first NHL start since experiencing complications from multiple sclerosis, made 35 saves in a 2-1 overtime loss to the Chicago Blackhawks.

Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp called Harding an “inspiration for so many people.” Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews said the way Harding played “was nothing short of amazing.”

Former teammate Eric Nystrom tweeted, “Harding exemplifies everything [a] hockey player should be! No quit, no feeling sorry, just battling against all odds fearlessly.”

Even celebrity Michael J. Fox, who has Parkinson’s disease, tweeted, “NHL playoffs! Yes !!! Josh Harding... Great story.”

Harding is genuinely uncomfortable with all the hoopla surrounding his appearance Tuesday. He wouldn’t care if the story was simply about an impressive performance by a goaltender who had to flip that mental switch in warm-ups and go from backup to starter in a snap.

But Harding doesn’t want to be known as the goalie with MS. What’s more, with it crucial that the Wild focuses on returning to Chicago and forcing a split, he doesn’t want to be considered a hero because he backstopped a playoff game with MS.

“I have to take care of my business, and there’s a lot of time in the summer to get caught up on all that stuff,” Harding said of the outpouring of support.

The Wild’s longtime backup knows he must get refocused for Friday’s Game 2 because the chances are good he will be starting.

Niklas Backstrom is day-to-day because of what coach Mike Yeo is calling a lower-body injury. But considering Backstrom had to struggle off the ice in discomfort Tuesday and considering he has had groin and hip issues in previous seasons and considering the Wild recalled Darcy Kuemper even though the Houston Aeros had a playoff game Wednesday night, all signs point toward Harding being between the pipes Friday.

“We have a lot of confidence in him and we know how good of a goalie he is,” teammate Zach Parise said. “I can’t imagine what’s going through his mind at the time going through that circumstance, but I thought he rose to the occasion and played great, and really gave us a chance to win.

“I don’t know what Backy’s status is, but if it’s Josh moving forward, we have a lot of confidence in him, too.”

Harding didn’t see Backstrom get hurt Tuesday. He was on the ice stretching when Backstrom reached for a rebound to his right. He pushed off and seemed to pull something in his left leg.

“Mikko [Koivu] came and said, ‘Hards, get in there,’ ” Harding said. “I went in and finished warm-up, and I took the end shots.”

Harding began a final lap around the zone. As he reached the red line, Harding was joined by Parise, who gave him a few words of support and a tap of his stick.

“He’s had a hard year. We all know that. He’s gone through a lot,” Parise said. “I was just telling him it was his time now.”

Harding departed the ice like the starter would with four minutes left in warm-ups. When he got to his locker, Backstrom wasn’t sitting in the stall to his left.

  • related content

  • Souhan: Drama of Game 1 reminds us what playoff hockey is all about

    Wednesday May 1, 2013

    An intense, compelling opener set the tone for more to come.

  • Blackhawks notes: Chicago is used to living on the edge

    Thursday May 2, 2013

    For the Chicago Blackhawks, the first game of the Stanley Cup playoffs was similar to a good portion of their regular-season games.

  • Wild notes: Focus turns to generating more offense against Chicago in Game 2

    Thursday May 2, 2013

    The Wild must find ways to generate more against the team that gave up the fewest goals in the NHL during the regular season.

  • On Monday, Josh Harding was the Wild’s backup goalie, stopping shots. But Tuesday night, he was rushed into the starting lineup and responded with a 35-save effort.

  • Wild goalie Josh Harding

  • Wild goalie Josh Harding knocked the puck away as Chicago’s Brandon Saad closed in during the third period of Tuesday night’s Game 1. “We have a lot of confidence in him and we know how good of a goalie he is,” Zach Parise said.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Atlanta 6 FINAL
Detroit 4
Philadelphia 3 FINAL
Houston 6
St. Louis 4 FINAL
Miami 1
Baltimore 3 FINAL
Tampa Bay 2
NY Yankees 2 FINAL
Pittsburgh 1
Chicago Cubs 6 FINAL
San Francisco 8
Los Angeles 6 FINAL
Chicago WSox 1
San Diego 4 FINAL
Seattle 9
Cleveland 9 FINAL
Cincinnati 3
Milwaukee 2 FINAL
LA Angels 3
Oakland 2 FINAL
Chicago Cubs 2
Texas 4 FINAL
Kansas City 5
Colorado 3 FINAL
Arizona 4
NY Mets 4 FINAL
Washington 5
Boston 8 FINAL
Minnesota 9
Toronto 0 FINAL
Baltimore 5
Oklahoma City 105 FINAL
Chicago 108
Dallas 75 FINAL
Portland 94
Calgary 4 FINAL(SO)
Boston 3
St. Louis 1 FINAL
Philadelphia 3
Minnesota 2 FINAL
Washington 1
Toronto 2 FINAL
Tampa Bay 4
Dallas 4 FINAL(SO)
Florida 3
NY Islanders 4 FINAL
Nashville 3
Vancouver 2 FINAL(SO)
Arizona 3
Montreal 3 FINAL(SO)
Los Angeles 4
Morgan State 76 FINAL
MD-Eastern Shore 89
Niagara 54 FINAL
Siena 71
Holy Cross 83 FINAL
Bucknell 90
Western Ky 88 FINAL
Charlotte 84
Navy 62 FINAL
Colgate 72
Temple 70 FINAL
East Carolina 56
UAB 59 FINAL
Fla Atlantic 62
Boston Univ 64 FINAL
Lafayette 89
American Univ 68 FINAL
Lehigh 62
Wisconsin 76 FINAL
Minnesota 63
Fairfield 33 FINAL
Saint Peters 63
Arkansas 78 FINAL
South Carolina 74
Morehead State 76 FINAL
UT Martin 65
USC Upstate 63 FINAL
Fla Gulf Coast 62
Lipscomb 57 FINAL
North Florida 71
Southern Ill 55 FINAL
Missouri State 48
Texas State 64 FINAL
Appalachian St 67
SC State 62 FINAL
Bethune-Cookman 72
Delaware State 104 FINAL
Coppin State 92
Middle Tennessee 54 FINAL
FIU 59
Texas-Arlington 64 FINAL
Ga Southern 76
Norfolk State 80 FINAL
Hampton 69
NC A&T 58 FINAL
NC Central 69
Savannah State 57 FINAL
Florida A&M 64
Southern Miss 61 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 72
Marshall 50 FINAL
Old Dominion 67
Rice 76 FINAL
TX-San Antonio 74
South Alabama 81 FINAL
Arkansas State 76
Alabama State 78 FINAL
Grambling St 46
Alabama A&M 54 FINAL
Jackson State 72
Sam Houston St 67 FINAL
Lamar 61
Georgia State 58 FINAL
ULM 50
Central Arkansas 70 FINAL
Nicholls 77
Portland State 51 FINAL
Northern Ariz 58
Southern U 77 FINAL
Prairie View 73
Alcorn State 73 FINAL
Texas Southern 94
Houston Baptist 72 FINAL
TX A&M-CC 85
Ark-Little Rock 69 FINAL
Louisiana 75
SE Louisiana 79 FINAL
New Orleans 85
California 60 FINAL
Arizona 99
Memphis 54 FINAL
Connecticut 53
VA Commonwealth 55 FINAL
Davidson 82
Ark-Pine Bluff 0 Postponed
Miss Valley St 0
Sacramento St 65 FINAL
Southern Utah 69
Northwestern St 66 FINAL
Stephen F Austin 92
North Texas 60 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 83
Colorado 64 FINAL
Washington 47
Idaho 63 FINAL
Weber State 74
Abilene Christian 52 FINAL
Incarnate Word 64
Eastern Wash 85 FINAL
Idaho State 81
Marist 80 FINAL
Quinnipiac 74
Eastern Ill 64 FINAL
Belmont 97
Bradley 52 FINAL
Drake 50
Cal State Fullerton 62 FINAL
UC Irvine 68
CS-Northridge 58 FINAL
Long Beach State 69
UC Riverside 59 FINAL
UC Davis 61
Stanford 62 FINAL
Arizona State 67
Utah 67 FINAL
Washington St 59
Monmouth 68 FINAL
Canisius 56
Wake Forest 85 FINAL
(22) Syracuse 79
Saint Louis 65 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 58
Saint Peters 62 FINAL
Rider 54
UNC-Asheville 51 FINAL
Liberty 59
UNC Greensboro 44 FINAL
(17) Chattanooga 78
Michigan State 69 FINAL
Michigan 49
Arkansas 72 FINAL
Ole Miss 61
Manhattan 51 FINAL
Niagara 57
Massachusetts 63 FINAL
Richmond 67
Virginia 52 FINAL
Miami-Florida 62
Jacksonville St 45 FINAL
Belmont 55
Morgan State 65 FINAL
MD-Eastern Shore 50
Campbell 65 FINAL
Winthrop 52
Furman 65 FINAL
Samford 54
Oregon 64 FINAL
Washington St 66
Indiana 52 FINAL
(23) Rutgers 63
Pepperdine 67 FINAL
Loyola Marymount 68
Auburn 47 FINAL
(18) Texas A&M 57
Morehead St 66 FINAL
Tennessee St 81
George Mason 43 FINAL
Saint Josephs 71
Western Carolina 53 FINAL
East Tenn St 73
Arizona 62 FINAL
UCLA 80
FIU 30 FINAL
Middle Tennessee 79
Texas State 55 FINAL
Appalachian St 61
TX-Arlington 66 FINAL
Georgia Southern 41
SC State 57 FINAL
Bethune-Cookman 56
Delaware State 51 FINAL
Coppin State 80
Portland 58 FINAL
Santa Clara 66
Norfolk State 49 FINAL
Hampton 64
Florida Atlantic 56 FINAL
UAB 59
NC A&T 67 FINAL
NC Central 46
Savannah State 72 FINAL
Florida A&M 51
Virginia Tech 51 FINAL
Pittsburgh 45
Central Arkansas 43 FINAL
Nicholls 53
Houston Baptist 48 FINAL
TX A&M-CC 73
Gardner-Webb 70 FINAL
Radford 56
Georgia 75 FINAL
Missouri 64
Old Dominion 67 FINAL
Marshall 55
Ark-Little Rock 68 FINAL
Louisiana 66
South Alabama 60 FINAL
Arkansas State 70
Georgia State 66 FINAL
ULM 61
Sam Houston St 73 FINAL
Lamar 92
SE Louisiana 75 FINAL
New Orleans 84
Northwestern St 45 FINAL
Stephen F Austin 56
Alabama A&M 58 FINAL
Jackson State 66
Alabama State 68 FINAL
Grambling 62
Southern U 78 FINAL
Prairie View 50
Alcorn State 55 FINAL
Texas Southern 73
Ark-Pine Bluff 0 Postponed
Miss Valley St 0
Wofford 54 FINAL
Mercer 75
Abilene Christian 72 FINAL
Incarnate Word 62
La Salle 60 FINAL
Rhode Island 65
Illinois 71 FINAL
Nebraska 86
TX-San Antonio 60 FINAL
Rice 49
Valparaiso 55 FINAL
Oakland 70
Missouri State 65 FINAL
Indiana State 56
Georgia Tech 64 FINAL
(15) North Carolina 84
Charlotte 72 FINAL
Western Ky 80
Texas-El Paso 69 FINAL
North Texas 61
Wichita State 77 FINAL
Evansville 63
Loyola-Chicago 64 FINAL
Northern Iowa 69
Bradley 70 FINAL
Drake 86
Presbyterian 62 FINAL
High Point 75
Vanderbilt 61 FINAL
(12) Kentucky 67
Colorado 75 FINAL
USC 63
San Francisco 74 FINAL
Pacific 64
Idaho State 58 FINAL
Eastern Washington 62
Weber State 42 FINAL
Idaho 71
Purdue 78 FINAL
Minnesota 82
Cal-Irvine 54 FINAL
Cal State Fullerton 66
Long Beach St 60 FINAL
CS-Northridge 77
Hawaii 60 FINAL
UC Santa Barbara 36
UC Davis 56 FINAL
UC-Riverside 61
Northern Ariz 79 FINAL
Portland State 62
Southern Utah 73 FINAL
Sacramento St 107
Utah 64 FINAL
Washington 75
BYU 65 FINAL
St Marys-CA 64
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: Who is doing the best job coaching a Minnesota pro sports team?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close