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Holy goalie! NHL netminders dropping like pucks

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As far as hazardous occupations go, being a professional hockey goalie has to rank pretty high. But even by tough-guy NHL standards, there sure are a lot of injured netminders out there.

Let's start with your Minnesota Wild, sports fans. Niklas Backstrom suffered a knee injury a couple weeks back, and Josh Harding gets hot in his place. Then, Thursday, Harding suffered a "lower-body injury," and Backstrom had to come out and fill in, even though he told the Star Tribune's Michael Russo before the game that he's still not feeling 100 percent.

Harding's counterpart on the Carolina Hurricanes, Cam Ward, also suffered a "lower-body injury" and had to leave the game early.

NBC's Pro Hockey Talk says Ward will be out three to four weeks.

The Wild recalled Johan Gustafsson for goalie depth while Harding is out. We'll learn more on that later today, according to the Star Tribune.

PHT also reports that bad news befell Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne, who will be out at least a month with an infection in his hip.

Yahoo! Sports notices the trend as well, making the argument that backup goalies are undervalued around the league (perhaps no more).

This is probably good news only to Blackhawk fans, as CSN Chicago notes: "You know how the Blackhawks are taking a ton of shots lately? Well, they’ll want to keep that up against the Minnesota Wild, who they play here on Saturday and in Minny on Monday. The Wild’s goaltending situation now is much like it was in last spring’s first playoff round: hurting."

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