Respect is Earned Part II

I have officially dubbed Wild goalie Josh Harding “The Fireman.” This nickname came about for two reasons. First, already known for his masks, he came out with a new one following the equipment fire that destroyed a lot of the teams equipment which you can see pictures of here, here, and here, courtesy of Michael Russo. The second was when he stepped into the game against the red hot Chicago Blackhawks, and like a relief pitcher, put out their fire and helped the Wild come back from a 5-1 deficit to win.

Last night the man, who earned my respect by standing up to Steve Ott, did it again by putting on a gutty performance. With Niklas Backstrom already scratched with back spasms and only Wade Dubielewicz, who had no chance to warmup, to back him up, Harding worked through obvious pain to stop every shot the Avalanche threw at him. With Craig Anderson putting on an equally amazing performance on the other end of the ice, he saved Minnesota’s bacon more than once to preserve a 1-0 win for the Wild.

Niklas Backstrom, with his contract and history, is still the man in Minnesota. But Harding is making a great case for himself. Whether he stays with the Wild, or more likely moves on, he is going to be a great NHL goalie.

Something else I found amusing

Now this was probably the third big hit Nash had thrown in this game, and he and Brunette almost got into it at the end of the 2nd. However this one was illegal and Nash was going to be called for a penalty. So after the whistle Schultz and Nash drop the gloves and hug each other. But what cracks me up is RJ Umberger on the bench yelling that Schultz should fight him.

Memo to Mr. Umberger: If Nash is man enough to throw the hits he was and to shove a man’s face into the glass, he is man enough to fight his own fights especially one against a smaller Nick Schultz.

Speaking of manning up…

Gaborik is man enough to jump into the scrum, he’s man enough to push and shove Carcillo, he’s man enough to drop the gloves, then the announcers and Ranger fans are gonna cry when Carcillo punches him? Gaborik has no one to blame for himself in that one. Imagine the fight had gone differently and instead Gaborik had landed a couple good ones then taken Carcillo down. Those same announcers would have been calling Gaborik a hero. Just food for thought.

-BHD

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