Josh Harding of the Minnesota Wild doesn’t talk about his battle with multiple sclerosis during the season, preferring to keep the focus on the Minnesota Wild and his own play, which is by far the best of his NHL career.
But doesn’t mean his health won’t be an issue at times. Harding was placed on injured reserve on Wednesday for what his general manger Chuck Fletcher said was an adjustment in his MS medication.
“This is not a major situation at all,” Fletcher said. “This didn’t come out of the blue. I’ve been talking to Josh for a while about this. He needs to make an adjustment in his protocols, and now is a good time to do it [with the Dec. 24-26 holiday break on the horizon]. “He feels good. He played well [Tuesday] night, but it’s just something that has to be taken care of.”
… Harding leads the NHL with a 1.51 goals-against average and is second with a .939 save percentage. He missed two months last season because of complications with his medication, but Fletcher said, “This is not a setback. This is not a situation where something occurred in the last 24 hours. From a hockey standpoint, we’re all confident he’ll be back after Christmas and play.”
Harding is arguably the leader for the Vezina at this point, and a case could be built for Harding-for-Hart a well.
Reading this, you're happy this seems minor, and you just hope this incredible season doesn’t get derailed by his ongoing health struggle. For the sake of Harding, who has been waiting his entire career to get the crease in Minnesota. For the Wild, who have relied on his steady play all season. (Luckily, Niklas Backstrom is as veteran a capable a backup as one could hope to have.) And for the NHL, that could use a few more stories like Harding’s.