In what comes as no surprise, the National Hockey League has announced that Minnesota Wild goaltender Josh Harding has been named the league’s Third Star of November.
Harding would notch an 8-2-2 record, a 1.88 goals against average, a .926 save percentage and one shutout in becoming the first Wild player in franchise history to receive Star of the Month recognition. In addition, Minnesota’s rising star was also named Third Star of the Week for his stellar play during the week ending November 18th.
The 38th overall pick of the 2002 NHL Entry Draft has gone an impressive 14-4-3 this season while leading the league with a 1.45 goals against average, three shutouts and a second-best .939 save percentage. He currently ranks third amongst all NHL netminders in wins. Most importantly, his exceptional start to the season has been a major contributing factor to his team’s overall success, and has left many wondering if he could be a serious contender for not only the Vezina Trophy as the league’s best goalie, but also for the 2014 Canadian Olympic team as well. If you don’t believe me, see for yourself.
Then there’s this beauty.
Classic Josh Harding. The Wild goalie’s outstanding play hasn’t escaped the notice of Minnesota head coach Mike Yeo.
“He’s been such a huge part of us being able to win games, being able to find our game within games, being able to hang onto leads and doing it in such a confident manner that it breeds confidence to the rest of the group. When you see an empty net and you’ve got a two-goal lead and he dives across the net and makes that save last game, that’s a huge boost of confidence for the rest of the group that you’re going to seal the deal and win that game and that’s the way he’s been. I also think it’s also a compliment to the guys and the way they’ve been playing in front of them. The guys have recognized his efforts and they’ve rewarded him by playing well in front of him.”
In other news, it appears Minnesota’s second line center Mikael Granlund has been shutdown with what undoubtedly has to be concussion-like symptoms.
Granlund shut down. Yeo said "we're not making progress, so we're going to try a different approach." Obviously setback since skate #mnwild
— Michael Russo (@Russostrib) December 4, 2013
Granlund has missed five of the past six games, including three in a row, and will remain on IR.
“We’re going to keep him off right now,” Yeo said. “He skated the other day and we’re at the point now where lets just take some time off here and make sure we get this right. … I just know that we’re not making progress, and so what we’re doing right now, we have to take a different approach.”
If he’s out a while, we could be seeing a lot more of Erik Haula. We’ll keep you updated as the situation develops. The Wild take on the mighty Chicago Blackhawks tomorrow night. Should be a good one, we’ll see you then.