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Wild’s Harding ‘feeling a lot better’ after MS setback

Mar 6, 2013, 1:11 PM EDT

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Minnesota backup netminder Josh Harding is showing improvement after a recent setback with Multiple Sclerosis, according to Wild GM Chuck Fletcher.

“[He's] feeling a lot better,” Fletcher told the Minnesota Star-Tribune. “Now it’s a question of getting back to strenuous physical activity, then getting back on the ice and seeing from there.

“Doctors are very confident we’ll get to a spot where he’s going to feel very good most days.”

Harding hasn’t appeared in a game for Minnesota since relieving Niklas Backstrom in the third period of a 4-1 loss to the Canucks on Feb. 7.

He was supposed to dress for a game against Vancouver on Feb. 12 but, prior to, informed the club he wasn’t feeling right.

“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.”

The Wild called up Darcy Kuemper from AHL Houston to play against Vancouver, and proceeded to put Harding on injured reserve.

Harding hasn’t been taken off IR yet, but with Minnesota riding Niklas Backstrom hard in recent weeks — he’s been the goalie of record in 16 of the last 18 games — the team might return Kuemper to Houston and bring up Matt Hackett.

“Darcy’s earned the right to be here and playing very well, but so is Hack and we want to make sure we don’t hurt Darcy’s development [by not playing him],” Fletcher said.

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