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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Harding tears right ACL and MCL, likely out for season (updated)

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild news, Wild training camp Updated: September 25, 2010 - 12:57 PM

Wild backup goalie Josh Harding has torn the ACL and MCL in his right knee and is likely out for the rest of the season, according to the team. He will undergo reconstructive surgery on the ACL after his MCL heals a bit.

When Erik Johnson tore his ACL and MCL in 2008, he was given a 6-to-9 month timetable. I talked to St. Louis Dispatch's Jeremy Rutherford, and he said Johnson didn't start skating until the following June after the injury took place in September. Johnson did wait a few months for surgery so his MCL would heal. 

"I heard the pop. I kind of went into shock. ... I was hoping it wasn't this," said Harding, who said he's not ruling out a return this season. "It's going to be a battle. I'm ready to take on that battle."

Harding was injured Friday night in the first period of the Wild's exhibition game in St. Louis when forward Brad Boyes accidentally fell on his leg.

For now, Anton Khudobin, who will start tomorrow's game in Montreal, will back up Niklas Backstrom. GM Chuck Fletcher will be available tonight. He did tell me he's committed to keeping Dennis Endras in Germany this season. He's 5-1 with Augsburger. But Fletcher said Endras will fly to Finland for a few days to be the Wild's backup goalie.

But I really don't think the Wild's going to react immediately by acquiring somebody to replace Harding. I could be wrong, of course. But this just happened, so I'd think instead of making a rash decision, Fletcher and his staff will watch Khudobin and give him a chance. Then, if he can't do it, they react. Of course, I'll ask Fletcher his thoughts tonight.

But Khudobin's been an AHL All-Star, he brought Houston to the conference finals two years ago and he was good in his two appearances last year.

Said coach Todd Richards on Harding: "This is a big blow to him and a big blow to us." 

"You could see it on his face last night sitting on the table and his leg wrapped up and then on the planeride home. I think you can tell a lot about the extent of the injury because the player knows. They’re so in tune with their bodies. Just his demeanor, you could see how down he was. I was definitely hoping for the best, but kind of expecting the worst just how he was."

Niklas Backstrom: "It’s more than teammates – it’s your friend, your family – so for sure it’s tough to see your teammate go down."

Anton Khudobin on last year: "It was an unbelievable experience for my life and for my career. It was a really good couple games, and I feel I could play at this level."

Harding on Khudobin: "I think he’s an NHL goalie for sure. From the limited time I’ve seen him, he handles himself really good. I know him. He’s a really good person, wants to learn, hard worker, and he’ll definitely help this club."

 

 

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