According to Michael Russo of the Star Tribune, forward Jason Pominville, goaltender Niklas Backstrom and defenseman Clayton Stoner did not participate in the Minnesota Wild’s practice this morning.
Wild Head Coach Mike Yeo says that all three are listed as day-to-day, but it appears Pominville will not be traveling with the team to Chicago for Game Two of Minnesota’s round one series with the Blackhawks. That said, it’s likely that Josh Harding will once again receive the nod in net for the Wild, while Justin Falk will take Stoner’s spot on the bottom pairing with Tom Gilbert.
I don’t think a single decent human being couldn’t help but cheer for Harding in Tuesday night’s 2-1 loss—even if they were Blackhawks fans cheering him on mentally. The Wild did recall rookie Darcy Kuemper from Houston to backup Harding but, until he’s told otherwise, Minnesota’s second round selection in 2002 is planning on playing like the No. 1 franchise netminder he was drafted to be. He certainly looked the role on Tuesday night as he stopped 35 of 37 shots to the reluctant admiration of his opposition.
“You have to tip your hat to what Josh is going through on their side,” said Blackhawks winger Patrick Sharp. “It’s pretty amazing that he’s able to play at the level he does, it’s an inspiration for a lot of people.”
“It’s nothing short of amazing,” said Chicago captain Jonathan Toews. “I have a lot of respect for a guy like that … I read his quotes about not wanting any sympathy, he’s going to keep working, keep playing. You have to respect an opponent like that, especially when he’s going through something like that. Seeing the way he played, the stops he made, was pretty cool.”
“Obviously there’s a lot of emotions going through your head,” said Harding, Minnesota’s 28-year-old Masterton Trophy nominee. “But like I was saying, I’ve been a backup goalie for a bit and I know how important it is to get ready for every game.”
Wild fans can rest easy knowing Josh Harding is feeling good and is welcoming the challenge presented by the best team in the National Hockey League. Harding has MS—I’m sure the Chicago Blackhawks are much easier to handle than that.