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Wild’s Harding launches multiple sclerosis charity


Minnesota goalie Josh Harding — who won the 2013 Masterton Trophy after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis last year — has established a public charity aimed at changing perceptions of MS.

“There is a poor perception of people diagnosed with MS. People immediately think wheelchair and death,” he said in announcing the launch of Harding’s Hope. “I want to be a role model for others diagnosed with MS by showing that this will not come between me and my goals.”

Here’s more, from the release:

Harding initially struggled to find important and necessary information about the disease, while he was exposed to some of the negative perceptions surrounding something that affects more than 2.1 million people worldwide.

A lack of education and understanding are something that Josh hopes he is able to help change through work with his new organization.

In the United States, Harding’s Hope will work with existing agencies to help support people faced with the expensive treatment costs.

In Canada, the charity will support organizations that provide community services to people living with MS.

Harding, 29, learned of his MS diagnosis last fall but managed to serve as Minnesota’s backup this season, though he did miss extensive time with a MS-related setback in February.

Undeterred, Harding returned to action and became the team’s starter for all five games of its opening-round playoff loss to Chicago.

Filling in for the injured Niklas Backstrom, Harding posted a .911 save percentage and 2.94 GAA in the playoffs, which included a stellar 43-save effort in Game 2 — paving the way to winning the Masterton, awarded annually to the player who exemplifies “perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.”

Kassian suspended without pay, placed in Stage 2 of Substance Abuse Program

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Zack Kassian may have avoided major injuries stemming from his Sunday car accident, but it likely sent the signal that he may need help.

The response: he was placed in Stage Two of the Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program (SABH) of the NHL and NHLPA on Monday.

According to the league’s release, Kassian “will be suspended without pay until cleared for on-ice competition by the program administrators.”

Speaking of being suspended without pay, here’s a key detail:

The 24-year-old ended up with a broken nose and broken foot from that accident. The 2015-16 season was set to be his first campaign in the Montreal Canadiens organization after a tumultuous time with the Vancouver Canucks.

Kassian spoke of becoming more mature heading to Montreal, but the Canadiens were critical of his actions, wondering how many wake-up calls someone can get.

In case you’re wondering about the difference between stage one and two:

Add Lecavalier to list of expensive Flyers healthy scratches

Vincent Lecavalier

Are the Philadelphia Flyers aiming for some sort of record when it comes to expensive (potential) healthy scratches?

While lineups are obviously subject to change, CSNPhilly.com notes that Vincent Lecavalier appears to be among a rather rich group of Flyers who are expected to sit during their season-opener.

Also likely to be in street clothes: Sam Gagner and Luke Schenn.

That’s $11.3 million in cap space rotting on the bench.

“I really don’t know what to say,” Lecavalier said. “I’ll practice hard and be ready when they call me up.”

The CSNPhilly.com quotes from Lecavalier, Gagner and Schenn only get sadder from there, a reminder that there are human beings attached to these numbers – whether you focus on disappointing stats or bloated salaries.

Flyers fans with the urge to reach for an Alka-Setzler can at least take some comfort in knowing that the team will see $6.8 million in savings after this season, as both Gagner and Schenn are on expiring deals.

It could be a long season, though, and this Lecavalier headache may not truly end until his contract expires following the 2017-18 campaign.