Josh Harding benched, GM says he's been feeling "off" [UPDATE]
With Harding unable to play tonight, the team is now carrying three goalies.
In November, Wild goalie Josh Harding went public with his multiple sclerosis diagnosis. He vowed to continue his NHL career, but the odds looked to be against him sticking around for long -- only one other player saw game action in the pros following an MS diagnosis, and Jordan Sigalet's one-game NHL career is probably best remember for a scary on-ice collapse he suffered during a minor league game.
Harding has seen action in four games so far this season, though in one of them he was mysteriously yanked after giving up just two goals. But today's news provides the first real evidence that Harding is having a hard time playing through MS.
Earlier today, the Wild announced they've called up goalie Darcy Kuemper from the minors, and this afternoon GM Chuck Fletcher confirmed that the move was motivated by concern about Harding's health.
From the Star Tribune's Mike Russo:
Fletcher says Harding has been feeling "off" last few days #mnwild-- Michael Russo (@Russostrib) February 12, 2013
Fletcher says "we really support him and I give him credit for being honest with us."-- Michael Russo (@Russostrib) February 12, 2013
Harding is skating this morning, but Kuemper will make the start tonight in Vancouver as the Wild take on the Canucks.
:::: UPDATE ::::
Via the Star Tribune, here's more of what Fletcher had to say about Harding and his MS treatment earlier today:
Josh hasn't been feeling great the last few days and we've asked to Josh to be honest with us and let us know when he doesn't feel that he's 100 percent. He just feels a little bit off. What he's going through right now, he's dealing with some medications. There's a lot of trial and error. Every situation is different. The doctors advised us of this a few weeks ago that eventually we will get to the right spot where the medication works and his body adapts to it.
It's not a one size fits all solution unfortunately. Every case is different, so we're going to get there. We're very optimistic about that, but right now, he feels a little off. I give him credit. It's against a hockey player's nature to come in and say he doesn't feel he can do it. He feels down a little bit about it, but we really support him and I give him a lot of credit for coming forward and giving us this information. It's in his best interest and our team's best interest to do this.
It's hard to predict the future. But we've been told that any MS patient in the early stages after the diagnosis, there's a lot of trial and error in terms of which medication works. Every case is different and we've been told it could take a little bit of time to get the right course of treatment. We're very confident we'll get there, but there could be some ups and downs along the way. He's been battling through. He's practicing today. He's continuing to battle through, but we just have to do what's in his interest and our team's interest. The good thing is we have lots of depth. We have good players here, we have good players in Houston. We're here to support Josh. He's a great teammate and everybody in the room's behind him.
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