Wild in Duluth: Josh Harding Injured, Matt Hackett on His Way

The Wild are in Duluth on a team building trip, which sets up nicely for Hockey Wilderness, since Bruce Ciskie happens to live and work in the harbor town.Good thing, too, as there has been some (what could be) major news out of camp and Bruce has the details.

Editor's note: As it turns out, Bruce cannot access the site right now, so I am posting this on his behalf. From Bruce:

Naturally, real life (well, in my case, real job) beckoned before the real news came out. But news is news.

We all knew something was up when Houston Aeros general manager Jim Mill took the ice as a goalie for Minnesota Wild. Niklas Backstrom was out, and Mill joined him as the second goalie on the ice as practice started at Amsoil Arena in Duluth.

Why was a team executive on the ice as a goalie, instead of backup goalie Josh Harding? Well, it was learned after practice (via Michael Russo) that Harding sprained his ankle during a team-building exercise the team conducted Sunday in northern Wisconsin, just south of Superior.

More, after the jump.


Harding's injury will be evaluated more, and in the meantime, the Wild have summoned Houston goalie Matt Hackett, who should arrive in Duluth Monday night. The team is scheduled to practice in Duluth one more time Tuesday before heading back to the Cities. There is a team dinner and golf outing also scheduled, and hopefully no one takes a backswing to the forehead during the golf portion of team-building.

Mill was hearing hoots and cheers from the Wild players virtually every time he made a save, especially late in practice when they got into playing three-on-three cross-ice. It was a topic of discussion for the media in attendance, but there is an obvious concern, too, for Harding's health.

While the nature of the injury and how it happened will probably be discussed at some point, the real news here is that Harding can't seem to catch a break. He missed all of last season after blowing out his knee in the preseason, forcing the Wild to sign veteran Jose Theodore to back up Backstrom.

In other news, Cal Clutterbuck was back on the ice and took part in the full practice. Also practicing were forward Matt Cullen and defenseman Jared Spurgeon, who had battled injuries during training camp.

"This last week of practice before the season opens will be good for us to iron out a few wrinkles," Cullen said. "For me, it's a bit more comfortable coming in and playing this way than adapting to how we played last year."

Cullen hasn't hid from the fact he wasn't happy with his debut season with the Wild, but he says he likes where he's at now, and he sounds like someone very happy with the system new coach Mike Yeo is installing.

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