In a surprising move by Team Canada, the staff of the Olympic team omitted Cam Ward in their invitations to their offseason training camp in preparation for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
Ward has not represented Canada in the Olympics before, but with the under performing Canadian goaltenders in the NHL right now, most expected that the 29-year-old would be invited and possibly be part of the team.
Instead, Canada invited goalies Mike Smith and Braden Holtby to training camp. Holtby is the inexperienced starter for the Washington Capitals, but has put up good numbers over the past year, while Smith had an awful season with the Phoenix Coyotes this past season.
I truly believe Ward would make a greater impact than either of those two. The Canes goaltender has more experience and knows what it takes to win.
Maybe Ward would be the third-string goalie for Canada, but wouldn’t they want a goalie that can instill confidence and is used to the pressure of a big game rather than a young goalie and one who fell apart last season?
I realize that Ward’s numbers in the past couple of years have not been great, but he’s played in front of the Hurricanes’ defense.
Last season, Adam Oates instilled a strong defensive system with the Capitals that helped Holtby’s numbers.
The Coyotes have always played strong defensively that has led to their goalies looking strong. Just look at what happened to Ilya Bryzgalov when he went to Philly.
Of course Ward missed most of the second half of the season with a knee injury, but before the injury he had helped the Canes to the top of the Southeast Division and won nine games in the process.
But maybe this is a good thing for the Hurricanes. Maybe the lack of an invite fuels Ward to prove something next season and even make Team Canada.
Either way Cam Ward should be fighting for a spot at training camp this summer.