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Wild put Harding on IR to undergo change in MS treatment

Dec 18, 2013, 6:56 PM EDT

hardinggetty Getty Images

The Minnesota Wild will be without arguably their most valuable player for the next nine days, as goalie Josh Harding has been placed on injured reserve to make an adjustment to his treatment for Multiple Sclerosis.

“Over the next week, Josh will make a minor adjustment to his treatment protocol,” Wild General Manager Chuck Fletcher said in a statement. “Josh feels great and he looks forward to rejoining our team for our game in Winnipeg on Dec. 27.”

Harding, who has been nothing short of brilliant this season, ranks first in the NHL in goals-against average (1.51), tied for first in shutouts (3), second in save percentage (.939) and is tied for second in wins (18). He was named the league’s third star in November and is a major reason why the Wild are holding the eighth and final playoff spot in the ultra-competitive Western Conference.

While Harding will be out until Dec. 27, he actually won’t miss that many games. The Wild only have three left until the Christmas break — at Pittsburgh, at New York Rangers and at Philadelphia — before the league shuts down from Dec. 24-26.

If all goes well, Harding will be set to face the Jets in Winnipeg on the 27th.

In a related move, the Wild have recalled Johan Gustafsson from AHL Iowa to serve as Niklas Backstrom‘s backup over the next three games. Gustafsson has been recalled once already this season but has yet to appear in a NHL game.

  1. peterjohnjoseph - Dec 18, 2013 at 7:00 PM

    I can already see myself confusing Johan Gustafsson and Jonas Gustavsson in one day fantasy lineups and playing the wrong goalie..

  2. 950003cups - Dec 18, 2013 at 7:01 PM

    It’s so nice to see him play with that disease. People with MS must be pretty moved by his refusal to just lay down and feel sorry for himself. I know two people with it, and I’ve told them about him, and they’re shocked how he is handling it and playing hockey at an elite level.


    • endusersolutions2013 - Dec 18, 2013 at 10:32 PM

      Actually, he’s become my favorite non-Hawks player. My daughter is in the process of building her future while overcoming MS. At age 20, she started reporting “my skin feels numb” (what the heck is that?????), then tripping over things she should not. Then problems with stairs – sometimes. Got diagnosed, and is now on a new oral form of an effective med that was only previously available as an injection, Galenya. Doing well, working full time as an LPN while going to school part time to get her RN.

      So I’ve started following the Wild, who I now root for (when not playing the ‘Hawks of course;)

    • namriverrat69 - Dec 18, 2013 at 11:32 PM

      When a person has MS they are never done with it for any period of time. The effects are with them 24/7. Sometimes the symptoms are more pronounced than others and that is between exacerbations which knock the crap out of the person. This could be an exacerbation.

    • namriverrat69 - Dec 19, 2013 at 12:12 AM

      My first entry was in reponse to Indianhead 1992 below.

      People with MS don’t sit around feeling sorry for themselves. My younger sister who is 56 has dealt with this for 20 years and her 37 year old son for 15 years. My sister has never sat around feeling sorry for herself. She is one of the most positive people I know. I’ve never heard her complain, ever. She had already had 2 sons before the disease struck. You would never know she has the disease unless she told you. She has just reached a stage where she became unable to work and is disabled. She held jobs her whole life as her health has gradually declined. I asked her once about how she feels. She always says fine and I don’t know if she has had an exacerbation until weeks after it has passed. She lives in another state and she doesn’t want me to worry. She is now at a place she has to use a walker to get around.

      Over the course of her disease she has broken her right elbow, broken her right foot 3 times, broken her left foot once, she developed sepsis a few years ago and collapsed in the shower splitting her head open, getting a concussion and breaking her left foot. She did not know she had sepsis and only survived by the Grace of God. A year ago she was walking up to the door to her doctors office using her cane and she tripped in a break in the sidewalk, fell, split her chin open dislocating her jaw. Since then she has been confined to using a walker per her doctor. She never complains. She never feels good. She once told me during a serious conversation when she opened up about her illness that today is the best she will ever feel the rest of her life. The discomforts are always there. She was in the back yard doing some gardening last September and when she got up to go back into the house back and stomach muscles being so weakened gave out and she lay in the sun while she called her husband and his brother to come and help her back into the house. Her brother in law cried the whole time because he never knew she was this sick. She never let on to him what she dealt with every day.

      She developed irritable bowl syndrome along with a weak bladder causing her to wear a catheter all the time which caused her to have to go to the rest room to empty the bag and clean her catheter and place it back. She was in the grocery store with her mother in law one day in the check out line when her bowls let go cause she had no control. She casually backed out of the line and left the store and went to sit in the car. When her mother in law came to the car she said “Chris, did you notice that horrible smell in there.” My sister responded “Yeah Mom, it was me.” Her mother in law had no idea what she really dealt with every day.

      There are times when her skin feels like she is being stuck with sharp needles all over her body. Her skin gets hot. Living in a hot climate makes her symptoms more severe.

      The medication she takes does not eliminate the exacerbations but help to minimize the effects and discomfort. I would take a guess this is what Josh Harding is experiencing. They don’t change your medication unless your precious meds are not working any more.

      MS is where your white blood cells attack your body along your spine and base of your brain. It causes scar tissue to form at the synapses where your nerves connect. When this takes place the brain messages to your muscles gradually find it more and more difficult to get through to the muscles. Then you lose the ability to do things because your muscles don’t work. It is a gradual regression over the course of life. As Chris once told me – MS is a long slow painful death. Yet her spirit continues to shine brightly regardless of how she feels. She will not let her MS affect how she lives her life.

      Exacerbations are brought on by physical exertion and abusing your body. That sounds just like hockey. It really is amazing Josh Harding is playing hockey at the level he is playing. MS affects women much more than men however the effects and disease has a history of being more severe in men than women.

      Medications discovered over the past 20-30 years have greatly assisted people living with the disease. Nothing has been developed yet to rid the disease or stop the course it takes within the human body.

      Josh Harding is amazing. I too would get his jersey if I got one that wasn’t from my team, the LA Kings. The great thing is that we all love different teams yet we all love and appreciate Josh Harding. He is and will remain in my prayers. I hope this story will enlighten my fellow hockey fans on the severity of MS. God Bless you all.

      Endusersolutions2013 – my heart goes out to you and your daughter. I am glad she is doing so well. I don’t agree with a number of your opinions about my Kings but those are just opinions, however wrong they may be. This is life. Be well my friend.

      • endusersolutions2013 - Dec 19, 2013 at 4:26 PM

        Agreed. And I don’t know if you caught it, but in a post yesterday, I did say that they are one of the top 4 team in the league, and essentially that means “the world” (obviously not including Team USA and Team Canada as those are temp teams).

      • namriverrat69 - Dec 20, 2013 at 2:28 AM


        Yes sir, I did catch your post saying the KIngs are one of the top 4 teams.

        My sister initially broke out with the same symtoms as your daughter. I forgot to mention that as my sister loss of muscle control affected her left side more than her right for many, many years. For over 10 years she has worn a brace on her left knee and she drags her right foot as she walks with her cane. As I said, she has been reduced to only using a walker now. They are shopping for a chair for her to get around on. They aren’t ready to pull the trigger on that but have all the facts/info when the time is right.

        My nephew has been a somewhat different story as to his original breakout exacerbation while serving in the Air Force in Japan and it’s progression. I will save that for another day. If anyone is interested in that or any other information I will be at the Starbucks at Firestone and Lakewood on Saturday morning at 10AM.

        Merry Christmas and God Bless my fellow posters. It you do not believe please feel free to just ignore this message meant for other believers. There is no need to verbally attack the messenger and bash Christians.

  3. skr213 - Dec 18, 2013 at 7:04 PM

    Has anyone ever won the Masterton and the Vezina in the same year? ‘Cause he sure seems to be earning both.

  4. steelers88 - Dec 18, 2013 at 7:40 PM

    I hope this setback doesn’t keep him out for to long. For me he was the feel good story of the year. Even though I’m a Penguins fan Josh Harding is one of my favorite players in the NHL. He has a disability and yet he still plays great. He is definitely someone I look up to.

    • purp1234 - Dec 18, 2013 at 10:44 PM

      The kid is an inspiration. However, there could be cause for concern. When he was reported to have slipped on the puck in warm-ups a few weeks ago, I heard Michael Russo on NHL Tonight saying that he actually had spasms. Spasms are a symptom of MS. The fact that the Wild only expect him to miss a short period of time is encouraging and the fact that he’s played incredible since that incident a few weeks ago suggests he should be ok going forward. Let’s hope for the best.

  5. purpleguy - Dec 18, 2013 at 7:52 PM

    Not good for Josh or the team — I hope he will be okay and that Backstrom, who’s been fighting the puck and giving up too many rebounds, gets his act together.

  6. rebekah319 - Dec 18, 2013 at 9:20 PM

    Actually it is good for Harding it comes at the right time for him to rest and come back after the holiday break. Its good for the team too that they are having this under control and helping the guy out. He cant be over worked and I am glad he is getting the proper treatment to allow him to be even more great! So yes its good for everyone involved. Now having said that team has to start scoring more goals and playing better in front of Backstrom!!!!

  7. northstarnic - Dec 18, 2013 at 9:50 PM

    “Arguably” their most valuable player? You’d be a fool to argue against it. Harding has been consistently outstanding. The Wild play A LOT of 1 goal games. When he’s in the net they usually win. Hope this break serves to get him rested and feeling strong. The Wild can’t make the playoffs without him.

  8. endusersolutions2013 - Dec 18, 2013 at 10:33 PM

    While he would otherwise be a most logical pick for team Canada, I hope he gets an Olympic rest.

  9. indianhead1992 - Dec 18, 2013 at 10:34 PM

    As a Hawks fan, if I ever get another teams jersey it would be a Harding jersey. This guy is an all around great guy. Scene some interviews with him and he seems very humble. Hopefully after this change in treatment he will be done dealing with MS during the NHL season. Good luck with the treatment!

  10. greej1938l - Dec 18, 2013 at 11:10 PM

    Love Harding!

  11. boukengreen - Dec 19, 2013 at 1:28 AM

    As one living with ms my doctor told me of a new drug that the FDA just approved that is a once a year infusion so it may be that he went to go and start that drug. I really hope everything is ok.

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