Can Ward Make Team Canada?
Ten days ago Cam Ward made his return to action for Carolina, after missing 10 games due to a lower body injury.
His return was timely for Carolina, who had gone 4-5-1 without the former Conn Smythe winner, but few gave Ward much chance of making Team Canada’s roster for Sochi.
Following Brian Burke’s comments in the Calgary Sun however, Ward is very much back in the conversation.
“As of this week, I’d start Cam Ward,” said the Flames director of hockey operations, who doubles as the American Olympic team’s director of player personnel.
“He’s out of his mind right now — you can’t beat him,” Burke continued. “Everybody’s worried about Canada’s goalies right now, but I’m not. I think they have three guys who could play. You just have to figure out who’s on at that moment.”
It’s hard to argue with Burke in some senses; although Ward has only played four games since returning from injury, going 2-1-1, he’s posted a .920 save percentage and made highlight reel with saves on Adam Henrique and Colin Greening.
There are few better ways to reignite your chances of selection than getting some very public backing combined with a few highlight reel moments.
Ward’s case for selection may have overcome a season ending MCL sprain last term (causing him to miss the last 27 games) and another minor injury this season, but he is one of a number of candidates in the picture.
The general consensus, which I am inclined to agree with, is that Roberto Luongo will get one spot and Carey Price another, leaving the third spot ‘to be fought over’ by numerous other candidates.
Depending on who you talk to; Ward is battling it out against Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury, Josh Harding (and his super start to the new season), Corey Crawford, Braden Holtby, Mike Smith and both Maple Leafs stoppers, Jonathan Bernier and James Reimer.
There’s some seriously stiff competition for that third goaltending spot. But if Ward can keep up this level of play, and stay healthy, he’s a strong candidate.
If nothing else, it’s great to see Cam Ward playing at an elite level again.