Editor’s note: I had this article typed and ready to be published by 4pm today, but Minnesota waited to officially release the news of Hackett’s call-up until 4:55pm–when I was conveniently at work and unable to publish it. Thus, I apologize for my timing.
The Minnesota Wild announced that they have recalled Houston Aeros goaltender Matt Hackett. Hackett will meet the team, which is already in transit, in Dallas for tomorrow night’s game against the struggling Stars.
After starting 12 straight games for Minnesota, starting goaltender Niklas Backstrom will get a well deserved break before likely starting again when the Wild returns home to host the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday night. With the call-up of Hackett, the Wild have sent down forward Jake Dowell to make room on the roster. While it’s unknown who will get the nod as starter tomorrow, Head Coach Mike Yeo has two young goalies in Hackett and Darcy Kuemper that are more than capable of manning the Wild net.
In other news, Josh Harding participated in the team’s optional skate this morning, taking shots from teammates Brett Clark, Nate Prosser and Mike Rupp. While there is no timetable for Harding’s return, his return to practice is big news. “It was an exciting day,” he said. “I think we kinda got it under wraps here,” Harding continued. “This was a big step for me. Hopefully it just keeps going the right way.”
Josh will meet with his doctors, Wild GM Chuck Fletcher and Head Coach Mike Yeo to evaluate what the next step is for him to take. “I feel like I’ve got energy,” Harding said. “I’ve been working out hard and now skating a couple of times.” In the limited time he’s seen this season, Harding has notched a 1-1-0 record with a 2.92 goals against average, .885 save percentage and a shutout. He has not played since February 7th, when MS medication issues forced him out of the Wild lineup.