Monday night, during the pregame warm-ups Minnesota Wild starting goalie Niklas Backstrom suffered a lower body injury and he was unable to play, that left the Wild with little used back-up goaltender Josh Harding who played in just five games all season long and only played in two games since January 30th, 2013.
If Wild fans were panicking, I could see why.
Personally, I was going to take a wait and see attitude, because the Wild were matched up against the President Trophy winners the Chicago Blackhawks. Remember, this is the same team that had been bounced in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs the past two seasons. I still think that this plays in the Wild's favor if they can get a few breaks in this series.
I guess Minnesota Wild fans will soon find out. Also, the best team doesn't always win, just ask Brendan Morrison and this is why we play the games. I know it sounds cliché, but I am by nature, a positive person.
When it's all said and done, this is going to be a highly contested series. I don't see the Wild just mailing in the four games to Chicago.
According to some fans from an unnamed fan base, it didn't matter who the Wild had in net because the Blackhawks were going to prevail anyways. If there is one thing that I know, Penguins and Blackhawks fans are the most delusional fans in the NHL.
In the past, I had been a big fan of Harding, pre-multiple sclerosis. At one time, I had been all for the Wild dumping Backstom and going with the younger less expensive Harding. Of course, I have backed off that opinion based on what has transpired in the past year, that doesn't mean that I don't' think that Harding isn't still a viable back-up, because he is. Harding has compiled a .career 916 save percentage and a 2.67 GAA and proved during the last game against the Blackhawks that he can still play.
I still think that it would be a nice story to see the Wild led by back-up goalie Josh Harding advance to the second round Stanley Cup Playoffs. Think about this, on February 7, 2013, Harding and the Wild had no idea where Harding career was going when they put the 28 year old goalie on the injured reserve. Harding seems to have found the right combination with his medicine and his game seems to be on the path to being resurrected.
To quote Wild forward Zach Parise, "now, it's his time."