During the playoffs, there’s almost no one more reliable than former Capital Joel Ward. Well, unless he’s really, really tired.
Ward, while participating in BioSteel Camp last week, opened up to Yahoo Canada about one of the biggest low lights of his NHL career: nearly sleeping through a playoff game.
— Yahoo Canada Sports (@YahooCASports) August 22, 2017
Ward spoke about the incident to Yahoo Canada from outside St. Michael’s College School Arena. The game happened on April 24, 2011, during Ward’s final season in Nashville. Current Capitals head coach Barry Trotz was the bench boss for Nashville.
Joel Ward: I was late for a playoff game when I was in Nashville. We were playing Anaheim, the time change coming back, and I just wasn’t adjusted to the two or hree-hour time change. When we came back, it was an afternoon game, I think we came back from a Game Five so it was a Game Six. We had a lunch, actually, with the guys at a restaurant. We usually have a pregame meal. I came back for my nap and I crashed hard.
And I’ll never forget this. My neighbor came and smashed on the door.
And I was like, “For what?”
Like I was completely blacked out.
So she’s like, “Go get dressed. Get ready! Put all your stuff on.”
I said, “Okay.”
I put on my suit. No socks. Like no belt. I put my shirt on. Got in the car and she drove me down. I think I made it at the end of warmups. They’re on the ice, yeah yeah.
The coach… Trotzy, thanks for being a good sport about it. He didn’t say nothing. I think the guys looked at me like I was an idiot of course. I kind of just got dressed. We won though. We won the series. It’s easy to talk about because we won.
Ward, incredibly, would go on to assist on the empty-net goal by David Legwand which ended the series.
The winger also received 21:40 of ice time, second among all Predators forwards that night.
The clutch forward apparently didn’t learn from the mistake however. The very next season, Ward, now a member of the Washington Capitals, overslept a morning meeting. Head coach Bruce Boudreau scratched him the next game.
“I basically slept in, missed a team meeting. So I’ve got to pay the consequences of not playing,” Ward said. “I understand it’s part of the team rules. It’s written. I just made a mistake of sleeping in.”
“I didn’t want to do it,” Bruce Boudreau said. “He’s a good player. But the rules have got to be the rules for everybody.”
So in conclusion, as long as Wardo is not in a deep REM sleep or trapped in a hotel bathroom stall, he is the most reliable player in the NHL.
Never change, Wardo.
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