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Tracking the Storm

Transition an Easy One for Ward

Friday, 07.24.2009 / 4:15 PM / Tracking the Storm
By Paul Branecky
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Transition an Easy One for Ward
Although the fact that the Hurricanes sought to re-acquire Aaron Ward in a trade was probably enough by itself to ensure that last year’s incident with Scott Walker was in the past, Ward went a step further today.

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“Those are things that happen during the game,’ he said. “It’s water under the bridge and I’m on his team now. I’ll see Scotty Walker when he comes in, shake his hand, tell him how grateful I am to be here, how excited I am to play with him and it will be in the past.

“But I might step on his toes first,” Ward added, showing that he’s still got the sense of humor that made him famous in his first tour of duty.

Ill feelings from a few months ago were easy to brush aside given Ward’s approval of the move. Although he made it clear that he enjoyed playing in Boston and that it was a little bittersweet to leave a good situation, Carolina would have been his preferred destination if asked.

“I was golfing with some of the band members from Kid Rock when I got a phone call,” said Ward. “It was [Boston GM] Peter Chiarelli. He conveyed to me that he wasn’t going to look to trade me to any place other than Carolina, so it worked out well.”

Ward has always kept his offseason home nearby and was outspoken about his love for the area. Just a few weeks ago, he was instrumental in convincing a former Bruins teammate, Andrew Alberts, that Carolina would be his best bet. As fate would have it, they’re now teammates once again.

“You never burn bridges,” said Ward. “You embrace all the great opportunities you’ve had with every team, and I’ve had some great experiences here in Carolina.

As he’s done for the last several years, Ward has been skating with former-teammate-turned-current teammate Rod Brind’Amour at the RecZone for the last three weeks. In that sense, not much has changed, save for a minor detail or two.

“Now I maybe feel a little bit more comfortable to start getting on his case about his age,” Ward said with a laugh.

At 36, Ward’s not exactly a spring chicken himself, so he’ll already relishing the opportunity to pick on Brind’Amour and Ray Whitney, the only players currently on the roster with more life experience.

However, Ward didn’t give any indication that he’s slowing down. He’s on the last year of his contract, but hinted that he’d like to play at least one more year after this one.

“I’m 36 years old, but I came out of this season feeling better than I ever have,” he said. “Right now, I’m so physically ready to play and feel great about it. I don’t want to start showing my hand, but I’m not going to deny that I’m looking beyond this year. I wouldn’t mind playing further on past 37. 

“I’m not Chelios,” he joked, referring to 47-year-old blueliner Chris, who may not be done yet, “But I don’t think I see the light at the end of the tunnel quite yet.”

Ward echoed many of the things that Jim Rutherford said earlier in the day about the ease of the transition, as he’s familiar with many of the core players on the Carolina roster from the 2006 championship team, and even played under Paul Maurice in his first tour of duty prior to that.

However, there are a few people he’ll still have to get to know, including expected defensive partner Joni Pitkanen.

“We may have complementary styles,” said Ward of that pairing. “I may allow him to be a little more risky in his approach to his game. My role with [Boston partner] Zdeno Chara was to put him in a position to be successful and give him the puck at all opportunities. Maybe that’s the same approach I take with a Pitkanen or whoever my partner is. I’ll just be old reliable back there in sound positioning and smart play.”

For those planning to head out to tonight’s Summer Fun Fest at the RBC Center, Ward will be there at around 6 p.m.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 TBL 48 30 14 4 156 127 64
2 NYI 46 31 14 1 151 129 63
3 DET 47 27 11 9 139 119 63
4 MTL 45 29 13 3 123 106 61
5 PIT 46 26 12 8 138 117 60
6 NYR 44 27 13 4 134 106 58
7 WSH 46 24 13 9 137 120 57
8 BOS 48 25 16 7 126 121 57
9 FLA 44 20 14 10 107 122 50
10 OTT 46 19 18 9 126 128 47
11 TOR 48 22 23 3 142 150 47
12 PHI 48 19 22 7 130 146 45
13 CBJ 45 20 22 3 113 142 43
14 NJD 47 17 22 8 107 134 42
15 CAR 46 16 25 5 98 120 37
16 BUF 47 14 30 3 89 167 31

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Staal 41 15 13 -8 28
J. Faulk 46 8 18 -14 26
J. Skinner 41 10 9 -7 19
E. Lindholm 46 9 10 -10 19
R. Nash 46 7 12 -4 19
J. Tlusty 39 11 7 -12 18
N. Gerbe 42 4 13 -2 17
V. Rask 46 6 9 -9 15
A. Sekera 44 1 14 -8 15
C. Terry 33 6 3 -3 9
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
A. Khudobin 5 8 2 .916 2.32
C. Ward 11 17 3 .911 2.45