On the eve of “rivalry night” against one of the NHL’s two undefeated teams, the Minnesota Wild announced they’ll be starting backup goalie Josh Harding when they host the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday.
No. 1 netminder Niklas Backstrom has played two games in the last three nights — a 5-4 OT loss to St. Louis and a 3-2 win over Columbus on Tuesday — so it’s not surprising the Wild are turning to Harding.
It’s also not surprising given Harding’s career numbers against Chicago: 6-3 , 2.32 goals against average and .930 save percentage, with three of those wins coming at the Xcel Energy Center.
That said, it’ll be interesting to see how Harding rebounds after a rough outing against Detroit.
He was tagged for five goals on 27 shots in a 5-3 loss to the Wings on Jan. 25, with Minnesota Star-Tribune writer Mike Russo saying Harding “lost his net” on Henrik Zetterberg’s marker.
Of note, the Chicago game will be Harding’s third start since news broke of him being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis during the lockout. The 28-year-old won his first start of the year with a 1-0 shutout over Dallas.
Ken Appleby never got drafted, but his efforts during the New Jersey Devils’ training camp have earned him an entry-level contract, per the Bergen Record.
Although no team saw it fit to take him before the preseason, the 20-year-old is coming off of a very strong season. He had a 2.08 GAA and .924 save percentage in 50 games with the OHL’s Oshawa Generals. He went on to lead them to a Memorial Cup championship and earned the the Hap Emms Memorial Trophy as the tournament’s top goalie.
Appleby is the fifth goaltender the Devils have under contract after Cory Schneider, Keith Kinkaid, Scott Wedgewood, and Yann Danis. He’ll likely begin the season in the ECHL.
Alexandre Goulet and Jacob Sweeney also participated in the Devils’ training camp on an amateur tryout basis, but both of them have been released.
PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.
Some of the NHL’s top players discuss Connor McDavid‘s potential and the hype surrounding him. (Toronto Sun)
While we’re on the subject, Wayne Gretzky recalls what it was like for him going into the NHL and what’s in store for McDavid. (Edmonton Sun)
Sam Gagner is about to start a key season in his career. (Philadelphia Inquirer)
It’s time for the Washington Capitals to make some tough calls, particularly when it comes to Derek Roy. (CSN Mid-Atlantic)
With Raffi Torres hearing scheduled for today, here’s a look back at his suspension history. (San Jose Mercury News)
The Chicago Blackhawks have gotten their championship rings. (NHL.com)