By: Aj Mansour | KFAN.com
When goaltender Josh Harding was diagnosed with early stage multiple sclerosis this past off season, the Minnesota Wild knew that there would be ups and downs throughout the season, they just didn't know what form they would come in. Earlier this morning they found out.
Tuesday morning the Wild were forced to call up goalie Darcy Kuemper from Houston to likely backup Niklas Backstrom tonight in Vancouver.
Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher spoke to the assembled media in Vancouver this morning and said that Harding "feels a little bit off."
"Josh hasn't been feeling great the last few days," Fletcher continued. "We've asked Josh to be honest with us and let us know when he doesn't feel 100%...I give him credit as it's against hockey players' nature to come in and say he doesn't feel that he can do it."
Harding, who has been undergoing treatment for the disease since November of 2012, had recently began a new round of medications which apparently have had a negative effect on his physical state the last few days.
"There's a little bit of trial and error," Fletcher said. "We've been told like any MS patient, in the early stages after the diagnosis there's a lot of trial and error as far as what medication works. We're very confident we'll get there but there could be some ups and downs along the way. We just have to do what's in his interest and our team's interest."
Kuemper (22) is 10-6-0 with a 1.79 goals-against average (GAA), a .938 SV% and four shutouts in 16 games for Houston this season. The 6-foot-5, 207-pound native of Saskatoon, Sask., ranks second in the AHL in GAA and SV% and tied for fourth in shutouts.
Asked why Kuemper and not the more fan-familiar option in Matt Hackett, Fletcher confidently stated that Kuemper has been "been the best goalie in the American League the last month."
To make room for Kuemper on the Wild roster tonight in Vancouver, defenseman Marco Scandella was reassigned to play with the Aeros in Houston.
Aj Mansour covers the Minnesota Sports for KFAN.com. Feel free to leave comments and questions on this post or others in the designated comment box below. For Wild updates and breaking Wild news, follow Aj on Twitter. @AjMansourKFAN