Cam Ward out once again for Hurricanes
Not only did Khudobin (expected to be back in a week or so) get hurt, but Ward will now be out three to four weeks with a lower-body injury he sustained in a 3-1 loss to the Minnesota Wild on Thursday night. With Ward, injuries should not come as a surprise.
Ward’s injury history reads like a member of the walking wounded. He has had back problems, he got slashed in the knee by a skate in 2009, and last March, he had a third-degree sprain of the left medial collateral ligament, which ended his season.
While Khudobin is a worthy backup and Justin Peters is someone who has an opportunity to show what he can really do, Ward still remains the Hurricanes’s franchise netminder. These last two seasons may not prove that but his overall body of work certainly does.
For starters, Ward has been a workhorse since joining the NHL in 2005-06. In his seven-plus NHL seasons, Ward has played at least 60 games four times, and in 2010-11 he started a career-high 74 games and put up impressive numbers in what was an all-star campaign for the Hurricanes’ masked man.
Secondly, Ward has been one of the league’s most consistent goaltenders for the last several years. In five of his last seven seasons, the Saskatoon native has won at least 30 games, has posted a goals against under three, has had save percentages over .904 in six of the last seven seasons and has picked up 21 shutouts in that span.
While the team has made the postseason in just two of the years Ward has been in the league, there is no doubt that he is a money goaltender. In his first postseason as a rookie in 2006, he led the Hurricanes to their first Cup in franchise history while also winning the Conn Smythe Trophy as the league’s most valuable player during the postseason.
In his second postseason in 2009, Ward took his sixth-seeded hockey club all the way to the Eastern Conference finals, where they would eventually lose to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Ward was terrific between the pipes and was 8-10 with a 2.67 GAA, a .915 save percentage and two shutouts.
This injury comes at an unfortunate time for both Ward and his hockey club. In eight games this season, Ward was 2-2-3 with a 2.81 goals against average and a respectable .912 save percentage.
Sure, the numbers in the above paragraph do not look great but Ward was getting his game back in working order. He was keeping his team competitive and up until the injury, had made some big saves for his hockey club this season.
For the Hurricanes to be everything they can be this season, there is no doubt that the team needs a healthy Ward. For now, however, it appears that they will put all their eggs in Peters’s basket.
While that is not necessarily a bad thing, it certainly will not be the same then if they were in Ward’s basket.