Back with Wild, Harding takes to ice but return remains unclear

  • Updated: March 12, 2014 - 3:45 AM
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Wild goalie Josh Harding

Wild goaltender Josh Harding, who hasn’t played since Dec. 31 and has been away from the team since early January because of the effects of multiple sclerosis, returned to the rink Tuesday.

Harding even laced up skates and took the ice in a sweatsuit.

“I had heard how much better he was doing. And when I got a chance to talk to him this morning, you could see it,” coach Mike Yeo said. “You could see it in his face, you could see the relief. You could just see he’s in a much better place right now.”

Harding, 18-7-3 with an NHL-best 1.65 goals-against average and .933 save percentage, is still a ways away from returning to practice, let alone a game. But, Yeo said, “It’s great to have him around. The next step is getting him on the ice and talking more about what the plan is.”

Goalie Niklas Backstrom, one week after being “shut down” by General Manager Chuck Fletcher because of abdominal issues, also took the ice in pads Tuesday.

“I know that he’s still not feeling great, so he’s going out there and keeping sharp just in case he can come back,” Yeo said.

MICHAEL RUSSO

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