Early in the second period, after Wild goaltender Niklas Backstrom surrendered four goals on only fifteen shots during the first twenty-five minutes of the Minnesota’s matchup with the Dallas Stars Monday night, coach Todd Richards pulled his starter and replaced him with Josh Harding. Little did Richards know that Harding would get involved in a little dustup with Stars center Steve Ott later in the period.
Harding, in to replace shellacked starter Niklas Backstrom, took exception to the Dallas Stars’ agitator slashing him, then lying on him and finally taking his sweet old time getting off him.
So Harding, who once broke Jamie Storr’s nose in a minor league goalie showdown, stood up for himself and thus demonstrated more emotion in a matter of seconds than his teammates showed in the first 40 minutes…
The mini-brawl inspired his teammates to stage a comeback, although the rally came up short, as the Wild went on to lose 4-3. To his credit, Harding was stellar, stopping all fourteen shots he faced in relief of Backstrom.
Awesome. Harding appeared pretty comfortable throwing punches during the melee. I wasn’t aware of the fact that he once went mano-a-mano with another goaltender in minors. Good for him. Further, maybe if more goalies stood up for themselves in this manner, they wouldn’t be so frequently subjected to the plowing into and piling on that seems to be an all-to-frequent occurrence for NHL netminders.
“I wanted him off. I thought I had to stand up for myself,” Harding said.
That sparked the Wild, along with, according to Richards, the fact that Ott skated by and laughed at the Wild bench after checking Derek Boogaard later in the game.
Yeah, you probably do not want to get Derek Boogaard’s blood pumping. Methinks Ott may have to ‘splaining to do to the Boogeyman when these same two teams face off again on February 2nd.
“He can mess around with a goalie, but not a player,” said Boogaard, referring to Ott’s willingness to swing at Harding and not any Wild skaters.
And hey, guess what? That game will also be on Versus so the entire nation can watch, too! W00t!
Wild’s late rally falls short once more [Star Tribune]