Minnesota Wild goalie Josh Harding bows out of lineup, feels ‘off’ due to MS medication
Minnesota Wild goalie Josh Harding gets his skate adjusted by assistant equipment manager Matt Benz (left) prior to a Jan. 29, 2013 National Hockey League game against the visiting Columbus Blue Jackets at the Xcel Energy Center in Saint Paul, Minn.
Photograph by: Bruce Kluckhohn, NHLI via Getty Images
VANCOUVER — Minnesota Wild backup goalie Josh Harding, who was diagnosed last fall with multiple sclerosis, has been forced to step away from playing, a move he hopes is only temporary.
The 28-year-old from Regina told reporters Tuesday at Rogers Arena that he felt “a little off” possibly due to a change in his medication. Harding has appeared in four games this season, including a relief appearance last Thursday against the Canucks when he stopped all six shots he faced in the third period. He also shut out the Dallas Stars on Jan. 20.
“Lately, I've been feeling a bit off and we kind of knew this was a possibility,” explained Harding, who did partake in the Wild's morning skate Tuesday. “I’m staying positive, though, and it’ll get better here quick. I’m not going to go into too many details about it. Right now, I’m a little off and the decision was made to take this (game) off and just take care of it right now."
Harding had been expected to start against the Canucks after No. 1 man Niklas Backstrom played Monday in Calgary. He did not even dress for the game. Instead, the Wild summoned 22-year-old Darcy Kuemper from their American Hockey League affiliate, the Houston Aeros.
"Right now, it’s day to day," Harding continued. "I'm just taking every day and seeing how I feel. I have to deal with it. Coming into this, I knew it wasn’t going to be the most perfect road. There are going to be some bumps for sure and there are going to be some challenges. I know things are going to get better and that's a positive point right there.”
He seemed convinced he will be able to continue his career.
“We've been trying to take new medication and stuff like that and the body obviously reacts a little different to everybody,” he said. “We’ve been told by the doctors that everything’s going to be fine, but this was a possibility. Unfortunately, this has happened."
Wild GM Chuck Fletcher noted that the team was fully aware Harding might have some difficulties with the medication change.
“It's not something we were not prepared for,” said Fletcher. “The doctors advised us of this a few weeks ago. There’s a lot of trial and error. Every situation is different. Eventually we will get to the right spot where the medication works and his body adapts to it. We're very optimistic about that.
“He feels down a little bit about it but we really support him,” Fletcher added. “I give him a lot of credit for coming forward and giving us this information.”
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