The feeling – subtle or not – was that the Minnesota Wild were leaning toward eventually making Josh Harding their “guy” in net as Niklas Backstrom’s contract was expiring, but Harding’s MS diagnosis might have scuttled those plans. Still, it’s easy to describe his recent production as healthy, so maybe he is as well?
The 29-year-old stopped all 16 Nashville Predators shots (yes, in a full game) to get his first goose egg of 2013-14 season, improving his record to 4-2-1 with fabulous individual numbers (such as a .953 save percentage). Meanwhile, Backstrom, 35, hasn’t won yet (0-0-2) and has allowed eight goals on 53 shots.
At minimum, Harding deserves more starts in the short-term. Soak in his strong Tuesday performance (along with Pekka Rinne’s solid night, which was ruined by one mistake for Minnesota’s goal) in the highlights below:
“Nope,” Dubinsky said. “You know, I’ve played the same way my whole career and I’m not going to change. The next time I have an opportunity to play (Crosby), I’m going to play him hard.”
In case you’re wondering, that next opportunity comes on Dec. 21 in Pittsburgh, assuming that both players are healthy and not suspended.
One can understand Dubinsky’s perspective, although such honesty would be that much more interesting if there’s another incident with Crosby. His initial reaction to the hit was interestingly candid, admitting that his “stick rode up” on his adversary.
Would that stance – which, from a harsher view, might seem flippant to Dubinsky’s critics – open the door for a bigger future bit of a discipline?
Maybe, maybe not … but at least his comments aren’t as inflammatory as what John Tortorella said (at least on the record).
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