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.


Philadelphia 3:30 PM
San Diego 7:25 PM
San Francisco
Minnesota 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Detroit 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Atlanta 12/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Green Bay 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Kansas City 12/21/14 12:00 PM
New England 12/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 12/21/14 3:05 PM
St. Louis
Buffalo 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Indianapolis 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Seattle 12/21/14 7:30 PM
Denver 12/22/14 7:30 PM
Utah 101 FINAL
Orlando 94
Charlotte 109 FINAL
Philadelphia 91
Brooklyn 91 FINAL
Cleveland 95
Washington 105 FINAL
Miami 103
Minnesota 98 FINAL
Boston 114
Toronto 110 FINAL
Detroit 100
Chicago 103 FINAL
Memphis 97
Portland 129 FINAL
San Antonio 119
LA Clippers 106 FINAL
Denver 109
Oklahoma City 104 FINAL
LA Lakers 103
Tampa Bay 2 FINAL(SO)
New Jersey 3
Anaheim 2 FINAL
Ottawa 6
NY Islanders 2 FINAL
Detroit 1
Boston 1 FINAL
Winnipeg 2
Dallas 2 FINAL
Calgary 1
Wilberforce 71 FINAL
Youngstown St 92
Jackson State 49 FINAL
Tulane 56
Siena 66 FINAL
Radford 76
Stillman 49 FINAL
Alabama 69
Case Western Reserve 65 FINAL
Bucknell 88
Niagara 62 FINAL
Buffalo 88
SD Christian 46 FINAL
UC Santa Barbara 69
Concordia (MI) 60 FINAL
Central Mich 97
Northern Ill 55 FINAL
Dartmouth 58
North Florida 83 FINAL
Florida A&M 65
Hiwassee 71 FINAL
Gardner-Webb 91
Tennessee St 54 FINAL
Hampton 66
Kent State 71
Central Penn College 65 FINAL
Liberty 94
Eastern Ky 72 FINAL
Miami-Florida 44
Northern Ky 83 FINAL
Morehead State 60
Northern Ariz 62 FINAL
Norfolk State 81
MD-Eastern Shore 43 FINAL
Old Dominion 60
St Marys-CA 47 FINAL
St Johns 53
Clemson 45 FINAL
South Carolina 68
Tenn Tech 58 FINAL
Tennessee 61
Washington-MD 46 FINAL
William & Mary 86
Bethune-Cookman 46 FINAL
Mercer 67
Furman 78 FINAL
Fla Gulf Coast 83
South Dakota St 53 FINAL
CS-Bakersfield 49
Milligan 53 FINAL
Lamar 80
LSU-Alexandria 71 FINAL
ULM 76
Southern Utah 57 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 73
Chattanooga 58 FINAL
Middle Tennessee 68
Seattle 57 FINAL
Minnesota 92
Lipscomb 55 FINAL
Princeton 77
Winthrop 71 FINAL
SE Louisiana 81
Dickinson State 48 FINAL
North Dakota 78
New Orleans 56 FINAL
Southern Ill 52
TX-Pan American 60 FINAL
Creighton 75
Colorado State 85 FINAL
Denver 84
Alabama A&M 49 FINAL
Marquette 83
Ark-Pine Bluff 51 FINAL
Texas Tech 72
Eastern Wash 67 FINAL
California 78
Idaho State 56 FINAL
Utah State 69
Arizona 60 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 55
Hawaii 94 FINAL
Chaminade 63
Nevada 10:00 AM
Utah State 1:20 PM
Texas-El Paso
(23) Utah 2:30 PM
Colorado State
Western Mich 4:45 PM
Air Force
South Alabama 8:15 PM
Bowling Green
BYU 12/22/14 1:00 PM
Marshall 12/23/14 5:00 PM
Northern Ill
Navy 12/23/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
Central Mich 12/24/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
Fresno State 12/24/14 7:00 PM
Illinois 12/26/14 12:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Rutgers 12/26/14 3:30 PM
North Carolina
NC State 12/26/14 7:00 PM
Ohio Valley 33 FINAL
Youngstown St 84
East Tenn St 48 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 61
Cal-Irvine 44 FINAL
Purdue 69
Campbell 63 FINAL
Stetson 76
Jacksonville St 70 FINAL
Charleston Southern 43
Louisiana 64 FINAL
Alcorn State 57
Denver 63 FINAL
Wright State 72
Blue Mountain 30 FINAL
Central Arkansas 71
Texas State 51 FINAL
Bethune-Cookman 40
Albany 62 FINAL
Pepperdine 36
TX-San Antonio 53 FINAL
Houston 56
Yale 66 FINAL
Bucknell 73
Northern Colorado 56 FINAL
Fla Gulf Coast 69
Belmont 86 FINAL
Mercer 83
Massachusetts 66 FINAL
Georgia State 71
George Mason 69 FINAL
Winthrop 57
Portland State 33 FINAL
Princeton 104
Samford 52
Mobile 30 FINAL
Alabama State 66
Nicholls 49 FINAL
Texas Tech 76
Toledo 65 FINAL
Nevada 56
UMass Lowell 48 FINAL
(13) Duke 95
St Marys-CA 49 FINAL
Virginia 62
McNeese State 55 FINAL
Rice 57
McMurry 49 FINAL
Houston Baptist 69
Seton Hall 74
(6) North Carolina 65 FINAL
Maine 36
Lafayette 58 FINAL
Stony Brook 60
Siena 62 FINAL
Binghamton 53
Longwood 56 FINAL
Clemson 72
Savannah State 51 FINAL
Florida State 97
(19) Syracuse 72 FINAL
(9) Baylor 74
Buffalo 68 FINAL
Manhattan 58
Canisius 43 FINAL
Michigan 79
Davidson 66 FINAL
NC State 82
Northern Ky 63 FINAL
Delaware 58
Saint Louis 81 FINAL
Austin Peay 86
(25) DePaul 64 FINAL
(2) Connecticut 98
Ohio U 74 FINAL
La Salle 63
Florida Atlantic 60 FINAL
Long Beach St 85
Miami-Florida 65 FINAL
Tulane 70
Miss Valley St 39 FINAL
Memphis 62
Ark-Pine Bluff 56 FINAL
UAB 65
Bowling Green 58 FINAL
Illinois State 54
Arkansas State 78 FINAL
Missouri State 62
Wichita State 57
(16) Oregon State 71 FINAL
Southern Ill 55
Pacific 67 FINAL
New Mexico St 62
No Dakota State 79 FINAL
Cal State Fullerton 86
Utah State 92 FINAL
Sacramento St 102
Bethesda (CA) 61 FINAL
Fresno State 83
Utah Valley U 44 FINAL
Montana 68
UC Santa Barbara 45
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