Michael Russo has covered the National Hockey League since 1995. He has covered the Minnesota Wild for the Star Tribune since 2005, after 10 years of covering the Florida Panthers for the Sun-Sentinel. He uses “Russo’s Rants” to feed a wide-ranging hockey-centric discussion with readers, and can be heard weekly on KFAN (100.3 FM) radio and seen weekly on Fox Sports North.

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Josh Harding, Cam Ward both injured during Wild's win over Carolina; Heatley scores!

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild game coverage Updated: October 24, 2013 - 11:30 PM

Hopefully it’s a minor injury, but it’s quite remarkable just how many times in Josh Harding’s career he’s had a chance to seize the reins from an injured Niklas Backstrom … and then gets hurt himself.

It’s got to be a half-dozen times now, including in last year’s playoffs actually.

The latest was tonight during a 3-1 Wild win over Carolina when Harding sustained some kind of lower-body injury while trying to stop Alex Semin’s laser with one second left in a second-period power play. I thought Harding spent the rest of the period flexing his left knee, but some on Twitter say right.

He gutted it out the rest of the period before Backstrom, who hadn’t played since Oct. 8 and isn’t 100 percent yet from his knee injury, played the third period, entered unenviably on a Hurricanes power play but stopped all seven shots he saw.

Hopefully it’s not major because for Harding because he had been playing sensationally the past 16 days in relief of Backstrom. Harding made 20 of 21 stops through two periods and earned the win, which makes up for the bogus loss he got in Nashville for only giving up one penalty-shot goal. He has stopped eight goals in nine games and has a 1.00 GAA and .953 save percentage.

Coach Mike Yeo offered no specifics of Harding’s injury, not a severity as of now.

Yeo wasn’t overly enamored with the way his team played tonight either, although let’s be honest, the Wild hasn’t gotten the full two points in four or five games this season it arguably deserved to win. It’s about time the Wild got two for a game in maybe shouldn’t have won.

The Wild caught a break four minutes in when Marco Scandella, who played a solid game and swept a puck from the Wild’s blue paint late in the third, sent Mikael Granlund in alone. Cam Ward slid across and got hurt. Carolina’s already announced he’ll miss up to a month with a lower-body injury

Anton “Borat” Khudobin is back in Raleigh injured, so third goalie Justin Peters made his season debut and Nino Niederreiter and Zach Parise scored on the first two shots Minnesota registered on Peters.

Niederreiter’s first career power-play goal was a sick (as the kids say) shot off a sick pass from Granlund. Parise’s goal was batted out of the air off Jared Spurgeon’s shot off the post. I really liked Spurgeon’s game in relief of injured Jonas Brodin tonight. By the way, Brodin looked like Sloth from Goonies in the locker room this morning. He looked much better at the game tonight in the press box and again is expected to skate Friday before the team flies to Chicago.

Remember, Charlie Coyle is closing in on a return too and my guess is Nov. 1 vs. Montreal is the target…Gives him four practices beforehand.

The Wild didn’t play well after the first though. Granlund and Dany Heatley took two penalties in the first four minutes of the second and the momentum was turned after Semin scored.

Heatley had an up and down game. Got chances, snapped a 10-game goal drought (longest of career) with an empty-netter, but took the penalty, turned some pucks over and seemed to fall an inordinate amount of times.

But Yeo put him out there in hopes of getting the goal, which Matt Cooke charitably set Heatley up for.

“A big part of why he’s out there, let’s be honest, is to try to get him that and get him off the squeezing the stick and having it on your mind,” Yeo said. “Hopefully he can just relax and play” and this “kickstarts” him.

Heatley said for the first time this season, he felt good tonight and hopes to build off this. As Parise said, “It’s just a really good shot of confidence. Hopefully we’ll see that from him because we need a lot of goals from him.”

The Canes played the Wild well, were in Minnesota’s face in the neutral zone all night and made life tough. But after not liking his team’s game through two, Yeo felt the Wild won its battles much of the third.

Anyway, that’s it for. Check out the gamer on the, uh, game and I retopped my notebook with Heatley’s first goal and turned Justin Fontaine/Justin Faulk into an online sidebar.

Talk to you after practice Friday. I will try to blog as soon as I can, but I’ve got to get my Sunday stuff written and filed, cover practice, book it to the airport for my flight to Chicago and write the daily stuff for the paper. So chance the blog may have to wait ‘til I’m in the air or after I land in Chicago.


Kansas City - WP: J. Guthrie 3 FINAL
San Francisco - LP: T. Hudson 2
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Buffalo 10/26/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
St. Louis 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Houston 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Seattle 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Miami 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Chicago 10/26/14 12:00 PM
New England
Philadelphia 10/26/14 3:05 PM
Oakland 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Indianapolis 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay 10/26/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Washington 10/27/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans 10/30/14 7:25 PM
Dallas 117 FINAL
Orlando 92
New York 80 FINAL
Toronto 83
San Antonio 87 FINAL
Houston 96
Miami 104 FINAL
Memphis 98
Minnesota 113 FINAL
Chicago 112
Phoenix 105 FINAL
Utah 100
Sacramento 93 FINAL
LA Lakers 92
Denver 112 FINAL
Golden State 119
Portland 99 FINAL
LA Clippers 89
Dallas 3 FINAL(SO)
New Jersey 2
Tampa Bay 4 FINAL
Winnipeg 2
Vancouver 3 FINAL
Colorado 7
Carolina 3 FINAL
Edmonton 6
Columbus 1 FINAL
Anaheim 4
Connecticut 21 FINAL
(18) East Carolina 31
Miami-Florida 30 FINAL
Virginia Tech 6
So Florida 17 FINAL
Cincinnati 34
Troy 13 FINAL
South Alabama 27
Boise State 55
(6) Oregon 59 FINAL
California 41
North Texas 11:00 AM
UAB 11:00 AM
Rutgers 11:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
Maryland 11:00 AM
Texas 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 11:00 AM
Memphis 11:00 AM
North Carolina 11:30 AM
San Jose St 12:00 PM
Northern Ill 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 1:00 PM
Akron 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 1:00 PM
Ohio U 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 1:30 PM
Oregon State 2:30 PM
Fla Atlantic 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 2:30 PM
Georgia Tech 2:30 PM
(22) West Virginia 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 2:30 PM
Vanderbilt 3:00 PM
Old Dominion 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 4:00 PM
(15) Arizona 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 6:00 PM
(3) Ole Miss 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 6:30 PM
So Carolina 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 9:45 PM
Nevada 10:59 PM
(2) Florida State 10/30/14 6:30 PM
Troy 10/30/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
Cincinnati 10/31/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa 10/31/14 7:00 PM
Purdue 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
(17) Oklahoma 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Iowa State
Oklahoma State 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
(10) TCU 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(22) West Virginia
Texas 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Texas Tech
Northwestern 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Maryland 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Penn State
Houston 1 FINAL
Chicago 2
Montreal 23 FINAL
Ottawa 17
Saskatchewan 27 FINAL
Calgary 40
Hamilton 3:00 PM
Brt Columbia 6:00 PM
Hamilton 10/31/14 6:30 PM
Winnipeg 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Brt Columbia 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Toronto 11/2/14 11:00 AM
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