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Harding Practices

by Glen Andresen / Minnesota Wild
Update: Anton Khudobin has indeed been sent down to the Houston Aeros, which means Josh Harding will be on the bench to back up Niklas Backstrom on Thursday when the Vancouver Canucks come into town.

Following today's practice, Todd Richards raved about Backstrom, saying he's given the Wild a chance to win every game they've played. Richards had seen Backstrom a couple times last year, but has been thoroughly impressed with Backstrom's professionalism and desire to improve.

"All he does is work," said Richards.

The Head Coach also talked at length about how the mood has shifted at practices since the club has been able to notch a couple wins. To hear what he had to say, listen to today's PONDcast.

Two other highlights: Cal Clutterbuck shaved the lower portion of his goatee, and he's now sporting a mustache. We'll try to get an update on what exactly he's thinking with this look.

And to wrap it up: Bob Mason was hysterical today when asked about the video (posted below) of his "fight" with Shayne Corson.

Mason was asked if he hurt Corson's hand with his face, to which he replied, "I hope so, but I can't remember."

Mason, who was visibly dazed after the fracas, said he was "concussed" but had to stay in the game. Then, he lamented the fact that Tom Kurvers was the first to come to his rescue. Kurvers was more known for his offensive skills than policing the ice.

The Minnesota Wild is currently on the ice at the Xcel Energy Center for a "work day" practice. Goaltender Josh Harding is out with his team for the first time since experiencing lower body soreness a week ago.

Anton Khudobin is also out there with the team, and we don't have word on if he's heading back to Houston today or not. The Aeros don't play again until Thursday night in Houston.

With still another day before Thursday's game, today's practice is going the full hour, and it's chock full of intense skating. There's even a few bodies flying during battles in the corners. And, Cal Clutterbuck has just dropped the gloves with video coordinator, P.J. DeLuca.

We'll have more after today's practice, but until then, have a look at a video that several of us up here in the Xcel Energy Center stands were getting a chuckle out of. It's of Wild goaltender coach Bob Mason headbutting Shayne Corson in the fist back when he was tending goal for the Canucks. Other than Tom Reid, who is sitting to my right, none of us probably have the right to laugh. Still, the look on Mason's face afterwards is guffaw-worthy.
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