Originally posted on Fox Sports North  |  Last updated 1/21/13
ST. PAUL, Minn. Josh Harding said he couldn't sleep well Saturday night knowing he would be in net Sunday for the Minnesota Wild in the second game of a back-to-back to open the season. Harding has played 118 games in the NHL. Nervousness like Harding was experiencing shouldn't come from a seven-year veteran. Sunday wasn't just any start for Harding. Sunday was his first time back as Minnesota's starting goaltender since he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis last summer. Earning his seventh career shutout with 24 saves in a 1-0 win against the Dallas Stars was secondary to the triumph of being back on the ice. "It feels good right now," Harding said. "It was a long-time coming here. It's been a tough couple months here and this made it all worth it. I can't think the team enough for having my back. They made some great plays, played great out there and made my job a lot easier." Harding wasn't sure if he would be back in this position when doctors told him he had MS following a series of tests because he was feeling dizzy. The disease, which attacks the body's immune system and specifically the lining of the nerves, can affect balance, vision and fatigue. Harding didn't know what the future held, but after signing a three-year, 5.7 million contract he wanted to keep playing. "When you get told about it, there are some doubts," Harding said. "I'd be completely lying to you if I didn't say that. The way that doctor (Jonathan) Calkwood and doctor (Dan) Peterson have helped me along, words can't describe what they've done to me. I'm not kidding I don't think I'd be here without those two guys. "They've kind of saved me and they made me believe and then it also goes back to the team and the management, they helped me believe in myself and it's just a really exciting time for myself." Harding felt he had to prove to Minnesota that he could be relied on. The Wild stuck with him. The perseverance of Harding and the support of his teammates, coaching staff and front office paid off Sunday. Zach Parise scored his first goal as a member of the Wild, and Harding was strong in net against Dallas, which scored four goals in its season-opener on Saturday. Harding made two critical saves in the waning minutes to keep his shutout intact. "We're very happy for him," Minnesota coach Mike Yeo said. "This is something most of us cannot understand, what he's going through and what he's been through lately. Again, he's just had an amazing attitude about this and we're just really happy for him." In the shortened, condensed season, the Wild will need Harding; the 1B option in goal to Minnesota starter Niklas Backstrom's 1A. With many back-to-backs and an intensive road schedule, Harding will be relied on as heavily as he ever has as Backstrom's backup. Harding played a career-high 34 games last season. Harding said he appreciates the support he's received from the organization. The support was never in question as far as Yeo is concerned. The coach didn't question Harding's ability to compete. "He's a guy that gives his all every day," Yeo said. "His attitude has been unbelievable. I've got no concerns. We owe it to him to have this opportunity. He's earned it. We didn't give anything to him. He earned it." Many of Harding's teammates didn't have concerns either. During the lockout, Parise was one of the many players that had skated with Harding in impromptu practices around town. Harding's performance Sunday didn't surprise Parise. "I was curious, but I wasn't nervous for him," Parise said. "He's been playing great. So I can't say I'm surprised with how well he played. He's been looking good for a while." There are many more games, hopefully, to go for Harding, but Sunday proved he's able to help the Wild and was a good first step after a tough few months. "I can't predict the future," Harding said. "I can only control what goes on day to day and I'm doing everything in my power to make sure that I'm ready to go and it was just a great feeling coming out here and backstopping the team to a win." Follow Brian Hall on Twitter.
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

St. Louis mayor says city is moving on from NFL

Report: Hawks could entertain trading core players at deadline

Arthur Blank diagnosed with prostate cancer

Browns deny coverup of Manziel showing up drunk at practice

Jimmy Butler will miss 3-4 weeks with knee strain

Phil Jackson justifies firing Fisher with psychology lesson


Emmitt Smith takes shot at Colin Kaepernick

Eli Manning explains why he made face during Super Bowl

Report: Kings to keep coach George Karl

John Elway: ‘No deadline’ for Peyton Manning decision

Titans release former Pro Bowl safety Michael Griffin

Maple Leafs trade Dion Phaneuf to Senators in blockbuster deal

Michael Jordan’s rep comments on the crying meme

10 NBA teams that could be active at the trade deadline

‘The X-Files’ takes a shot at the Philadelphia 76ers

Ranking the top 50 NFL players slated to become free agents

Jay Williams advocates for pot as painkiller for athletes

Photographer uninjured in SB collision with Corey Brown

Did Messi outbid Ronaldo for most expensive car?

Newton erotic novella ‘Dabbin’ with Cam’ released on Amazon

In Inglewood, representation by NFL may come with taxation

Mets will be present for two Royals’ WS ceremonies

Best and worst free agent signings of 2016 MLB offseason

McShay: Attending Michigan signing day a 'mistake'

Wofford sets NCAA 3-point FG percentage record

All Sports News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Report: Kings to keep coach George Karl

Was Alain Vigneault right about NHL's lack of punishment towards Wayne Simmonds?

Report: Knicks fire coach Derek Fisher

The best and worst commercials from Super Bowl 50

Best and worst from Super Bowl 50

Six best plays from Super Bowl 50

Eli doesn't look thrilled as Peyton wins Super Bowl

Did Beyonce almost fall down during Super Bowl halftime show?

Curry to serve as drummer for Panthers

Report: Marshawn Lynch plans to retire

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker