Minnesota Wild goalie Josh Harding won’t dress on Tuesday when his team takes on the Vancouver Canucks, as he deals with symptoms related to multiple sclerosis.
“Just lately been feeling a bit off and we kind of knew this was a possibility,” Harding told NHL.com. “I’m not going to get into too many details about it right now. I’m a little off and the decision was made to take this one [game] off and take care of it right now.
“We’ve been told by doctors everything is going to be fine, but this was a possibility and unfortunately this has happened.”
Harding, 28, was first diagnosed with MS in October but went public with the news in late November, to announce that he had the disease and still planned on continuing his NHL career.
“I know what my overall goal is to be, and that’s a No. 1 goalie of the Minnesota Wild and to win a Stanley Cup here,” he said at the time. “It would make me happy to overcome this. Not just overcome this, but to really succeed with it.”
Harding has appeared in four games for the Wild this year, which included a 24-save shutout victory over Dallas in his first game since being diagnosed.
He has a 1-1-0 record this season with a 2.92 GAA and .885 save percentage.
Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher said this setback was “not something we were unprepared for” and praised Harding for being honest about how he was feeling.
“It’s against a hockey player’s nature to come in and say he doesn’t feel he can do it,” Fletcher said. “He feels down a little about it and we’re really supporting him and I give him a lot of credit for coming forward and giving us this information.
“It’s in his best interest and our team’s best interest.”
In related news, the Wild recalled goalie Darcy Kuemper from AHL Houston to fill in for Harding. It’s expected that Kuemper will make his NHL debut against the Canucks tonight at Rogers Arena.