Game Six: This Means Ward!

Photo credit: John Tlumacki

The Capitals are back in Washington with a chance to keep their season alive. It didn’t have to be that way. With half a minute left to protect their lead in Game Five, Joel Ward high-sticked Carl Hagelin. The ensuing Rangers powerplay cost the Capitals the lead and the win– and what would have been a veritable chokehold on the series.

After he bested the Bruins in the quarterfinal round, Ward was the target of some vile and feckless trash from Boston fans. After his double-minor penalty led to Monday’s loss, that same pernicious evil erupted from Caps fans as well.

Here are Three True Things:

  1. Joel Ward is not at fault for the team’s loss.
  2. This hate is as rare as it is unacceptable.
  3. Joel Ward is a great hockey player and a great addition to the ’11-’12 Washington Capitals.

Joel Ward has earned himself a sterling reputation. He’s a playoff stud with 10 goals in 30 games. He’s a clutch player with a pair of game-winners in the postseason. He’s strong on the puck– with the 4th best Corsi score relative to quality of competition among Caps forwards despite starting most of his shifts near his own net [BtN 1, BtN 2]. Yeah, he’s exactly the guy you want in an elimination game.

If the Caps are to shake off the reputation of psychological frailty that has followed them the last few years, they’ll have to come out on Wednesday night as a united front. No one should be singled out for blame. The stories about Joel Ward’s terrible play have to be brushed aside. The criticism has to be hushed. Here’s how we’re gonna do it.

RMNB’s “This Means Ward” & “Caps In Seven” Signs

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This Means Ward is an affirmation. Joel Ward represents the kind of hockey that has got the Capitals so far. In spite of critics and doubters and demagogues, Ward executes Hunter Hockey better than anyone. His fourth line, paired with Keith Aucoin and Mike Knuble, has become a grinding dynamo, wearing down the other team’s D in their own zone and getting the greasy goals when they’re needed most.

Ward is an fitting conscript for the hockey team that Dale Hunter has marshaled. And now, as the team faces the precipice of summer once more, he’s the likely guy to bring them back from the brink.

Crash the net.

Posters by Ian Oland.

  • Akay15

    You make me proud to be a Caps fan. CAPS IN SEVEN!!!!!!!

  • Max

    So much hating on Wardo after game 5. Lest we forget, Caps would be golfing right now if not for him.

  • Capital_Punishment

    I just don’t get how people in this day and age can say such vile things about another human being. The fourth line and the Wagons will keep us in this game and the first line will win it. Caps in Seven!

  • Serpent

    I didn’t see any hate postings about Joel. I don’t know where they are and don’t want to know as I have absolutely no desire to wallow in filth. That penalty could just as easily have been drawn by any other player on the ice from either team. It happened. Get over it,get on with life.We have a cup to win, dammit, and a bloody good man named Ward to help us do it.

  • MKH

    I still don’t think it was Caps fans posting those racists things about Ward. It was probably Bruins fans again or even maybe Rangers fans, just trying to make us look bad. I believe in Ward, and I believe in the Washington Capitals! Rock the Red boys, you got this one!!

  • KareeLyn

    Agreed. I didn’t see a bad word about him and I’m just glad I missed it if there were nasty comments. No time and energy for that nonsense we have a series to win. Onwards Caps!

  • Dee

    Love the signs. Caps in seven!

  • Since I will be watching the game at home (daughter has tryouts for fall youth hockey), I took the graphic, changed it to a .jpg and am using it as my cover photo for my Facebook page. Thanks RM …

  • Agreed!! Caps in seven!! We believe!!!

  • In2Caps

    While I disagree that the “good” of the game 7 Boston goal evens out the bad of the double minor last game (if Ward doesn’t score against Boston, we will had about a 50-50 shot of winning that game, while I think we had a 99% chance of winning the last game without that penalty), there were other “what ifs” even WITH the penalty (e.g., winning one of those late faceoffs, Carlson’s late clear not being so hard, heck-TACKLING Richards–even a three man advantage should be manageable for SEVEN SECONDS). That said, someone told me he felt there was no way Ward should play today and that is RIDICULOUS. There is no one on the Caps who is more motivated than Ward to win right now–and he’s more than deserving of a chance for redemption.

  • Yeah. Those 7 lost faceoffs at the end of G5 buuuuuuuuuuuuuuurn.

  • Nick Martin

    I will be holding up my Karl Alzner Hershey Bears #7 shirt for “Caps in 7”!!!

  • Colin Lovett

    In past years, I’d be preparing for the end. In past years, the Caps would oblige my gloom. Not this game.
    Not this series. Not this year. Go Caps Go!

    Love the posters! Wish I could be there live!

  • Dave

    No hate for Ward, his high stick cost the Caps game 5. Since comong to DC he’s been a class act. If not for him the Caps could very well be planning a vaction. He may score the game winning goals all the way to the Cup. Yet his high stick was a major mistake that cost game 5. Now it’s over and time to move on. Let’s Go Caps!

  • Military Trail

    That’s my boy! I went to school with Wardo, played hockey with Wardo and partied with him. He is such a good person , he deserves everything he has and everything he has coming.

    Good luck Joel, and remember what Cecilia says………”trick the goalie” hahaha