Wild sends Kuemper back to Iowa

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The Minnesota Wild optioned goalie Darcy Kuemper back to the Iowa Wild of the American Hockey League on Friday.

The move isn't a demotion for Kuemper. The 23-year-old is simply going back to the Iowa Wild because No. 1 goalie Niklas Backstrom has recovered from a strained knee, although no word yet on if Backstrom or Josh Harding will start Saturday against the Florida Panthers.

Kuemper started in Minnesota's 4-1 loss at Toronto on Tuesday, but he was pulled after allowing three goals on seven shots.

"That was a tough game when you face few shots," Harding said of Kuemper's rough night, via the Pioneer Press. "That wasn't the ideal situation. Just trust me, he's going to be a good goalie. He has all the tools. He's a great kid, he's a hard worker and he's got a good head on his shoulders. I will not say enough good things about Darcy Kuemper and what he's going to become in this league."

Harding played well and made a few highlight reel saves Thursday night against Tampa Bay, but the Lightning defeated the Wild, 3-1.

Coach Mike Yeo said the story of the loss was penalties. Minnesota killed of 6 of 7 infractions, but being a man down didn't allow the offense to function at its highest level.

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