If everything had gone according to the Minnesota Wild’s original plan, Josh Harding would have likely started in their season opener against the Colorado Avalanche on Oct. 9. Instead he broke his right foot while reportedly kicking a wall. He was suspended by Minnesota for his non-hockey injury.
With Darcy Kuemper off to a strong start and Niklas Backstrom ineligible to be sent to the minors due to his no-movement clause, Minnesota waived Harding on Nov. 18. So instead of facing the Avalanche in October, Harding made his season debut Sunday against the AHL San Antonio Rampage.
The Rampage seemed determined to help Harding make up for lost time by giving him as much work as possible. Harding faced 54 shots and another three in a shootout as the Rampage went on to secure a 5-4 victory.
In addition to it being his first start of the season, it was also Harding’s first professional contest since Dec. 31, 2013. His 2013-14 campaign was cut short due to complications with his treatment for multiple sclerosis.