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Ward Ready for Nashville

Thursday, 09.22.2011 / 2:31 PM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Michael Smith
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Ward Ready for Nashville

After missing the beginning of training camp with upper body stiffness, Cam Ward has been back on the ice for a couple of days participating in full practices with the team.

Michael Smith
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For Ward, that’s what he wanted all along. But he and the coaching staff knew they needed to be careful, even if the injury was “nothing serious,” as Ward mentioned. Like head coach Paul Maurice said on day one, there’s one time Ward isn’t needed all season, and that is at the beginning of camp.

“I felt great all summer long, and then suddenly I aggravate an injury before camp,” Ward said. “I think we took a very cautious route. I was very itchy to participate in camp. We’ve had a couple good practices here, and I feel really comfortable, so hopefully that carries into the game tomorrow.”

Ward is slated to start in tomorrow night’s preseason matchup with Nashville, his first taste of a game situation since April 9.

“He wants to get in there,” Maurice said. “I don’t know if we’ll leave him in for the whole 60, but he’ll get some work.”

“It’s going to be nice to get back into the swing of things and get that game experience again,” Ward said. “It’s going to probably be a little different, just because I haven’t played in awhile. But that’s what exhibition games are for – to fine tune things and get yourself prepared.”

Last season, Ward started in 74 of the team’s 82 games, getting only eight games of rest all season. Ideally, the coaching staff would like to sit Ward in about 20 games this season, letting veteran Brian Boucher take some of the workload off of the young goalie.

Boucher signed a two-year deal with the Canes on the first day of free agency. In signing an experienced backup goaltender, the Canes shouldn’t have to rely on Ward as much as they have in seasons past. In Philadelphia last season, Boucher played in 34 regular-season games and nine playoff tilts. He won 18 games in the regular season and four in the playoffs.

 “There’s no question that Boucher is a veteran guy that can come in at any time and win your team a hockey game, and that’s what you need,” Ward said. “I like the workload, and there’s not a game that you don’t want to be a part of. But at the same time, you need some rest to be at the best of your abilities through the duration of the season.”

In addition to the help Boucher can bring to the team, the defensive depth the Canes have built up won’t hurt, either.

“We’ve got guys with youth and some with experience. You’ve got some shutdown guys, and you’ve got some defensive guys,” he said. “I think it’s a good mix of a defenseman that’s going to be tough to play against, and I’m glad they’re in front of me.”

A familiar group of defensemen will be in front of Ward tomorrow night, with a couple of young faces mixed in. In any case, Ward is going to come prepared with the goal of getting a win.

“He’s not trying out, but he’s a competitive man,” Maurice said. “He always wants to play his best – exhibition, scrimmaging with the guys – and he always takes it personally. He’s ready.”

SCHEDULE

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AWAY
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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 50 37 9 4 163 112 78
2 FLA 52 31 15 6 143 115 68
3 NYR 52 29 18 5 148 134 63
4 TBL 51 29 18 4 137 118 62
5 BOS 52 28 18 6 151 137 62
6 DET 52 26 18 8 130 131 60
7 PIT 51 26 18 7 132 130 59
8 NJD 53 26 20 7 119 120 59
9 NYI 50 26 18 6 135 126 58
10 CAR 53 24 21 8 129 141 56
11 PHI 50 23 18 9 119 130 55
12 MTL 53 25 24 4 142 142 54
13 OTT 53 24 23 6 148 165 54
14 BUF 53 21 26 6 120 139 48
15 TOR 51 19 23 9 117 140 47
16 CBJ 54 21 28 5 135 168 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Faulk 53 15 19 -13 34
V. Rask 51 12 19 1 31
K. Versteeg 52 10 21 1 31
J. Skinner 53 18 12 -3 30
J. Staal 53 12 18 7 30
E. Staal 53 9 21 0 30
E. Lindholm 53 8 16 -8 24
A. Nestrasil 46 7 12 -1 19
J. Nordstrom 42 5 9 2 14
R. Hainsey 53 3 11 -12 14
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 15 11 5 .905 2.43
E. Lack 9 10 3 .901 2.74
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