2010 NHL Free Agency: Minnesota brings back backup goalie Josh Harding for one year

joshharding2.jpgApparently, the Minnesota Wild saw my post* about the players who might be worth an offer sheet this summer. The team announced that they signed Josh Harding to a one-year contract, although financial terms have not been disclosed by the team.

Update: Michael Russo reports that the Wild signed Harding to a one-year, $1.2 million deal. That’s a decent amount of coin for a backup, but I think it’s still a solid move for Minnesota.

* – I’m kidding.

Harding is generally considered one of the best backups in the NHL, although his contract year 09-10 campaign wasn’t too spectacular (9-12-0 record, 90.5 save percentage and 3.05 GAA). That’s probably because his career numbers are pretty stout for a backup; he has a 28-39-4 record but managed an above average 91.5 career save percentage and 2.66 GAA.

Now, I imagine that – aside from being a restricted free agent – the reason that he didn’t get much attention is because he’s never had a big workload. His career high for games played was 29 in 07-08 (his 25 starts in 09-10 were his second highest), not even half of a regular season. There may also be the perception that playing for the Wild might inflate his numbers.

Without seeing the salary details, I think this is a great move for Minnesota and a tough one for Harding. Then again, if the goalie market is better next year, it could be a nice deal for both parties. Still, this is the summer where goalie contracts shriveled up and it (appears) that Harding holds to that pattern.

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    Julien says Lundqvist’s acting ‘doesn’t need to be on the ice’

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    The goalie interference penalty called on Brad Marchand late in Friday’s Thanksgiving Showdown didn’t sit well with the Bruins.

    Marchand, whistled after making contact with New York’s Henrik Lundqvist midway through the third, said he thought “it was a bit of a weak call,” adding “[Lundvqist’s] out of the crease, and he lightly gets touched.”

    While Marchand took issue with the call, his head coach took issue with King Henrik.

    (In Julien’s defense, Lundqvist does have a pretty lengthy IMDB page.)

    The interference penalty was nearly disastrous for the Bruins, as J.T. Miller scored on the ensuing power play to given the Blueshirts a 3-2 edge.

    However, Boston replied with a power-play goal of its own — Ryan Spooner, at the 16:14 mark — which set the stage for David Krejci‘s dramatic game-winner with just under two minutes to go.

    So, to recap: Today’s game had the Beleskey hit on Stepan, the Marchand-Lundqvist theatrics and a dramatic come-from-behind victory for Boston.

    And so, to answer your next question:

    These two teams next meet on Monday, Jan. 11, at MSG.

    Related: Yep, Alain Vigneault went there — ‘I remember Aaron Rome in this building’

    Video: Peluso, Gabriel throw down in spirited heavyweight tilt

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    The big boys got after it early in Minnesota today.

    Wild forward Kurtis Gabriel — all 6-foot-3 and 220 pounds of him — picked one of the toughest opponents in hockey on Friday, throwing down with Jets enforcer Anthony Peluso early in the first period.

    And it was a pretty good tilt.

    Peluso, one of the league’s most feared fighters, was coming off two pretty heavy scraps — one against Columbus tough guy Jared Boll, and another in which he landed some serious shots on overmatched Canucks d-man Luca Sbisa:

    Of course, Gabriel’s no slouch.

    He had one previous fight in the NHL this year (against Peluso’s teammate, Chris Thorburn) and five in the American League, where he’s spent the majority of this season.

    Given the fisticuffs that occurred earlier in the Bruins-Rangers game, it seem the NHL has really gotten into the spirit of Black Friday.

    (All videos courtesy HockeyFights.com)

    Yep, Alain Vigneault went there — ‘I remember Aaron Rome in this building’

    Matt Beleskey, Derek Stepan

    Alain Vigneault remembers a late hit that happened in Boston one time.

    The Rangers’ head coach referenced it today after one of his top centers, Derek Stepan, was injured on a check that the NHL may need to review with a stopwatch.

    “I remember Aaron Rome in this building, .6 seconds late, getting suspended four games in the Stanley Cup Final,” Vigneault said, per Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News.

    For those that need their memories refreshed (nobody in Vancouver does, that’s for sure), here’s Rome’s late hit that knocked Nathan Horton out of the 2011 final with a concussion:

    Now here’s the hit that Matt Beleskey put on Stepan:

    According to Vigneault, Stepan has some broken ribs and is out indefinitely.

    Over to you, Department of Player Safety.


    A league source has confirmed that the hit is being reviewed.

    High-flying Bruins (sounds weird to say) beat Rangers for fifth straight win


    Somebody tell the Boston Bruins there’s a goal-scoring crisis in the NHL.

    This afternoon, for the 14th time this season, a Bruins game featured at least six goals. The final score was 4-3, as Boston came back to beat the Rangers in a wildly entertaining Thanksgiving Showdown on NBC.

    David Krejci scored the winner with 1:43 remaining. Krejci’s goal came just 2:03 after teammate Ryan Spooner had tied it on the power play.

    The win was the Bruins’ fifth straight. Though the defensive mistakes remain…

    …Claude Julien’s troops have been finding ways to overcome them.

    The running and gunning Boston Bruins.

    When was the last time you could call them that?