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Wild: Harding hints that his absence is related to MS, Parise skates

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Minnesota Wild goaltender Josh Harding hasn't played since he went down with an illness following his most recent start Dec. 31.

Michael Russo of the Star Tribune is reporting that Harding "certainly intimated" that his illness was related to his Multiple Sclerosis.

“I wasn’t feeling good,” Harding said Tuesday morning. “If I felt even a little bit like I could play, I would have. But there are some things that are out of my control and I thought we did everything that is in our control to get back to where we are right now.

“Like I said, it was out of my control.”

Harding has missed 11 of the past 13 games, but he's feeling better. He took part in the morning skate for a second day in a row, and he's hoping to return to official practice on Wednesday. Harding still leads the NHL with a 1.66 goals-against average, so he's hopeful that he'll pick up where he left off.

"When you're playing good and you've got that rhythm, and when you're getting in there and finally getting the chance, you want to run with it," Harding said, via the Pioneer Press. "But there are some things that are out of my control right now, and I'm just happy with how we all dealt with it and figured out what we can control and did it."

In his absence, the Wild has relied on veteran Niklas Backstrom and youngster Darcy Kuemper, who earned his first career shutout in Minnesota's 4-0 win over Nashville on Sunday. Kuemper is expected to start in goal Tuesday night when the Wild hosts the Ottawa Senators.

Meanwhile, forward Zach Parise skated for the first time in a long time. He's missed 11 straight games with a broken foot and his return isn't expected in the near future.

Minnesota and Ottawa are two of the hottest teams in the league. The Wild is 5-1 in its last six games while the Senators are 5-0-1 over the same stretch.

Three goalies on the ice this morning, including Harding.

— Minnesota Wild (@mnwild) January 14, 2014

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