Wild goalie Harding sidelined for MS treatment adjustment

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 19, 2013 - 9:17 AM

The goalie is expected to be back for the Dec. 27 game at Winnipeg.

 

– Soon after the Wild touched down in Pittsburgh late Wednesday afternoon to begin a three-game road trip Thursday, the team announced that goaltender Josh Harding wasn’t on the flight.

Harding, the Wild’s rock through the first 36 games and maybe the NHL’s biggest surprise this season, was placed on injured reserve to make a minor adjustment to his treatment protocol for multiple sclerosis, General Manager Chuck Fletcher said.

He must miss a minimum of one week, meaning the next three games. Fletcher said the Wild is confident that Harding will be able to rejoin the team Dec. 27 in Winnipeg.

“This is not a major situation at all,” Fletcher said. “This didn’t come out of the blue. I’ve been talking to Josh for a while about this. He needs to make an adjustment in his protocols, and now is a good time to do it [with the Dec. 24-26 holiday break on the horizon].

“He feels good. He played well [Tuesday] night, but it’s just something that has to be taken care of.”

Harding made 29 saves and wasn’t beaten by any of Vancouver’s three shooters in the Wild’s 3-2 shootout victory on Tuesday. It was Harding’s 18th win, which is second in the NHL.

The Wild’s longtime No. 2 goalie never relinquished the No. 1 reins after Niklas Backstrom, the team’s all-time leader with 186 wins, strained a knee Oct. 8 in Nashville. Harding leads the NHL with a 1.51 goals-against average and is second with a .939 save percentage.

He missed two months last season because of complications with his medication, but Fletcher said, “This is not a setback. This is not a situation where something occurred in the last 24 hours. From a hockey standpoint, we’re all confident he’ll be back after Christmas and play.”

Johan Gustafsson was recalled from Iowa of the American Hockey League to back up Backstrom, who presumably will start at least two of the next three games. That will be Thursday in Pittsburgh and likely Sunday against the New York Rangers.

If Backstrom is unable to start Monday’s second half of a back-to-back in Philadelphia, it’s unclear whether Gustafsson would make his NHL debut or if the Wild would recall No. 3 goalie Darcy Kuemper.

Earlier this season, the Wild twice recalled Gustafsson to back up three games before recalling Kuemper to play. Kuemper started for Iowa on Wednesday night against Grand Rapids, and Iowa has consecutive home games Friday and Saturday against Hamilton and San Antonio.

Kuemper has struggled in his two NHL appearances this season. He is 0-1 with a 6.10 goals-against average and .625 save percentage. He is 6-9 with Iowa with a 2.68 GAA and .923 save percentage.

In the meantime, the Wild’s cage — for now — belongs to Backstrom again. He is 2-5-2 this season with a 2.93 GAA and .900 save percentage. Backstrom tied for the league lead with 24 wins last season, but he hasn’t looked the same since offseason surgery to repair a sports hernia.

His lateral movement has improved recently, but his rebound control has been an issue. Besides the knee injury, Backstrom has sustained a concussion this season and recently had a virus that resulted in weight loss.

“But I talked to him a few days ago and he feels as well now as he has all season,” Fletcher said. “We all have complete faith in Backy. He’s played some great games for us this year and had been one of the top goaltenders in the league over his entire career.

“The guy can play goal and has won a lot of games in this league.”

 

  • related content

  • Rand: Time for Wild's Backstrom to step up

    Thursday December 19, 2013

    Josh Harding has played so startlingly well this season that it's easy to forget he was the No. 2 goalie coming into the year for the Wild.

  • Gameday preview: Wild at Pittsburgh

    Wednesday December 18, 2013

    wild gameday6 p.m. at Pittsburgh • consol energy center • FSN, 100.3-FMPreview: The Penguins, who defeated the Rangers 4-3 in...

  • Wild coach Yeo renews friendship with Pittsburgh's Bylsma

    Thursday December 19, 2013

    Mike Yeo is back in Pittsburgh to face his old boss, Dan Bylsma, on Thursday night.

  • Josh Harding leads the NHL with a 1.51 goals-against average, but he’ll sit three games.

  • Wild goalie Josh Harding missed two months last season because of complications with his medication to treat multiple sclerosis.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

St. Louis - LP: A. Wainwright 1 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: J. Locke 3
Texas - WP: C. Lewis 12 FINAL
Seattle - LP: E. Ramirez 4
Washington - LP: D. Fister 4 FINAL
Philadelphia - WP: K. Kendrick 8
Tampa Bay - WP: D. Smyly 3 FINAL
Baltimore - LP: K. Gausman 1
Boston - LP: T. Layne 2 FINAL
Toronto - WP: M. Stroman 5
NY Yankees - WP: S. Greene 8 FINAL
Detroit - LP: D. Price 4
Atlanta - WP: J. Teheran 3 FINAL
NY Mets - LP: Z. Wheeler 2
Chicago Cubs - LP: J. Turner 5 FINAL
Cincinnati - WP: M. Latos 7
Cleveland - LP: C. Kluber 2 FINAL
Chicago WSox - WP: H. Noesi 3
Minnesota - LP: P. Hughes 1 FINAL
Kansas City - WP: W. Davis 6
Oakland - WP: D. Otero 5 FINAL
Houston - LP: C. Qualls 4
Milwaukee - LP: Z. Duke 2 FINAL
San Diego - WP: D. Thayer 3
Los Angeles - WP: C. Kershaw 3 FINAL
Arizona - LP: W. Miley 1
Miami - LP: H. Alvarez 1 FINAL
LA Angels - WP: H. Santiago 6
Colorado - LP: J. Nicasio 2 FINAL
San Francisco - WP: S. Casilla 4
Atlanta 8/28/14 5:00 PM
Jacksonville
Detroit 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Buffalo
Indianapolis 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Kansas City 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Green Bay
NY Jets 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
St. Louis 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Miami
Carolina 8/28/14 6:30 PM
Pittsburgh
New England 8/28/14 6:30 PM
NY Giants
Washington 8/28/14 6:30 PM
Tampa Bay
Baltimore 8/28/14 7:00 PM
New Orleans
Chicago 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Cleveland
Denver 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Dallas
Minnesota 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Tennessee
San Francisco 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Houston
Arizona 8/28/14 9:00 PM
San Diego
Seattle 8/28/14 9:00 PM
Oakland
(21) Texas A&M 8/28/14 5:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Wake Forest 8/28/14 6:02 PM
ULM
Boise State 8/28/14 7:00 PM
(18) Ole Miss
Tulane 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Temple 8/28/14 8:15 PM
Vanderbilt
Rutgers 8/28/14 9:00 PM
Washington St
Weber State 8/28/14 9:30 PM
(19) Arizona State
BYU 8/29/14 6:00 PM
Connecticut
(6) Jacksonville St 8/29/14 6:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Bowling Green 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Western Ky
TX-San Antonio 8/29/14 8:00 PM
Houston
Colorado State 8/29/14 8:00 PM
Colorado
UNLV 8/29/14 9:30 PM
Arizona
Penn State 8/30/14 7:30 AM
UCF
Troy 8/30/14 11:00 AM
UAB
(7) UCLA 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Virginia
Western Mich 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
(5) Ohio State 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Navy
Appalachian St 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Michigan
Ga Southern 8/30/14 11:30 AM
NC State
Boston College 8/30/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
West Virginia 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(2) Alabama
Rice 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
(10) South Dakota St 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(24) Missouri
Fla Atlantic 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(22) Nebraska
California 8/30/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Marshall 8/30/14 2:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
UC Davis 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(11) Stanford
Arkansas 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(6) Auburn
(16) Clemson 8/30/14 4:30 PM
(12) Georgia
Liberty 8/30/14 5:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Ohio U 8/30/14 5:00 PM
Kent State
Louisiana Tech 8/30/14 6:00 PM
(4) Oklahoma
Idaho 8/30/14 6:00 PM
Florida
Stephen F Austin 8/30/14 6:10 PM
(20) Kansas State
Fresno State 8/30/14 6:30 PM
(15) USC
Southern Miss 8/30/14 6:30 PM
Miss State
Texas-El Paso 8/30/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
North Texas 8/30/14 7:00 PM
Texas
(1) Florida State 8/30/14 7:00 PM
Oklahoma State
(14) Wisconsin 8/30/14 8:00 PM
(13) LSU
South Dakota 8/30/14 9:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(25) Washington 8/30/14 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
D.C. 1 FINAL
Los Angeles 4
Ottawa 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Montreal
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
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