Coach’s Corner: Capitals’ Joel Ward ‘a clutch guy’

Don Cherry and Ron MacLean talk about blind passes, Joel Ward’s play for the Washington Capitals, the coaching of Jon Cooper and Mike Babcock.

You can count Don Cherry as a big fan of Washington’s Joel Ward.

“Nobody ever talks about this guy, he’s a clutch guy,” Cherry said on Coach’s Corner Wednesday night. “He stands in front, you can’t move him out. He’s a big guy, he’s a tough guy.”

Ward was an important player in Washington’s Game 7 win against the Islanders, as he scored the first goal of the game and added four shots in 18:48 of ice time. It was his only goal in the series, but it shouldn’t be a surprise he converted in Game 7.

In 2012, it was Ward’s overtime winner that lifted the Capitals to a series victory over the defending Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins.

“I remember he broke our hearts,” Cherry said of the 2012 goal.

Before signing in Washington as a free agent in 2011, Ward tallied seven goals and 12 points in 12 Stanley Cup playoff games with the Nashville Predators. In all, Ward has played 46 post-season games, scoring 12 goals and 30 points.

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But the most amazing note about Ward’s career? Take it away Grapes.

“He was never drafted eh?”

After playing four years with the Owen Sound Platers in the OHL, the undrafted Ward played four years with the University of Prince Edward Island, scoring 16 goals and 44 points in 28 games in his last year with the school. Once he was done there, he played three years in Minnesota’s system with the AHL’s Aeros before finally finding a permanent NHL home in the Predators lineup.

And today, he’s building up quite the reputation as a Game 7 player.

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