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Capitals want more from Joel Ward

Mar 22, 2012, 8:30 AM EDT

wardletdowngetty Getty Images

Free agency and hindsight mix about as well as timidity and stand-up comedy, but even so, the Washington Capitals should have known better with Joel Ward. After all, they enjoyed an up-close showing of the playoff flash-in-the-pan phenomenon with John Druce in 1990.

GM George McPhee was nonetheless lured in by the siren call of a random and rousing playoff run with the Nashville Predators, ignoring logic and handing Ward a hefty four-year, $12 million deal.

What have the Capitals gotten for all that cash? Ward has six goals and 18 points on the season, making such a marginal impact that Dale Hunter made him a healthy scratch.’s Chuck Gormley passes along Hunter’s easier-said-than-done message for Ward.

“We expect more from him,” Hunter said. “He knows it. He’ll come out and play hard.”

It’s pretty reasonable for the Capitals to expect more from him since he’s produced so little. Even if his work ethic is there, Washington needs more than just hustle and defensive responsibility from Ward.

Maybe they made a mistake in expecting more than that, though.

  1. aodonne3 - Mar 22, 2012 at 9:02 AM

    Ward is just waiting for the playoffs to get his points…if they make the playoffs.

    • dagnats - Mar 22, 2012 at 9:36 AM

      he is terrible…every time he has the puck I want him to pass it or turn it over…b/c I know he is not going to do anything with it…

    • derrico2 - Mar 22, 2012 at 10:46 AM

      That’s a Big if!! Sabres are comming!!!!

      Let’s Go Buffalo!

  2. kantnockdahustle89 - Mar 22, 2012 at 10:28 AM

    If Im not mistaken when he signed this offseason everyone was saying what a great signing it was and 15 other teams were interested in adding him to their team. I guess they were all going to be wrong in picking him up.

    • jpelle82 - Mar 22, 2012 at 10:41 AM

      not necessarily, the caps are just stupid and were desperate for paying so much for a 3rd liner at best.

  3. ravenscaps48 - Mar 22, 2012 at 10:53 AM

    It’s amazing what a great run in the playoffs can do for a guy’s stature among free agents… He’s not the only one, look in Sunrise at Sean Bergenheim… He’s done worse than Joel Ward has! Bergenheim has 17 Goals, 5 Assists, and a Minus 3 Rating to Joel Ward has 6 Goals, 12 Assists, and a Plus 18 Rating… Just let him play BIG in the Playoffs ( If we make it ) and shut everyone up

    • rsl22 - Mar 22, 2012 at 12:07 PM

      First, he doesn’t have a +18 rating, he has 18 points.

      Second, the Caps made a huge mistake in signing Joel Ward. This was obvious from day 1. I know statistics don’t say everything….but Ward was 311 out of 336 in goals scored per 60 minutes of 5-on-5 ice time in 2010-11 (minimum 50 games). It’s nice that he showed up in the playoffs, but how could the Caps ignore that that small sample was completely unrelated to his career averages?!?!

      The Caps desperately needed depth at center to take some pressure off Backstrom and help Semin. Instead, they offered $3MM to f-ing Joel Ward. Now the Caps have Marcus Johannson (who I like, as a winger), Keith Aucoin and Matthieu Perreault at center, and Ward has finally been scratched. Awesome.

      Worst signing ever. Well, Gomez is pretty terrible, too.

      • ravenscaps48 - Mar 22, 2012 at 2:00 PM

        Ok. He’s Plus 12… Dick

  4. dougreale - Mar 22, 2012 at 11:29 AM
    • ravenscaps48 - Mar 22, 2012 at 11:43 AM

      I like what this fella has to say!

  5. dcfan4life - Mar 22, 2012 at 11:31 AM

    Joel Ward has been awful. The Caps took a flyer on his potential and instead got his underachieving track record. The Capitals best players were drafter, not signed. The whole reason their in the position there in is there total lack of depth in scoring and defense behind their first lines. Ward is a great example. I expect major changes this offseason no matter how this season ends.

    • ravenscaps48 - Mar 22, 2012 at 11:41 AM

      Having only ONE Center doesn’t help, either!

      • ravenscaps48 - Mar 22, 2012 at 11:43 AM

        And he’s missed what, going on 35+ Games?

  6. bcjim - Mar 22, 2012 at 12:13 PM

    “Even if his work ethic is there, Washington needs more than just hustle and defensive responsibility from Ward.”

    Ok, I’ll bite…they might need it but they shouldn’t “expect” any defensive 3rd line forward to be scoring.

    He is leading the team in +/- by the way….

    Has he been great? No

    Is he overpaid? Probably

    Is he doing worse than a rational person might have expected? Not really.

  7. stakex - Mar 22, 2012 at 2:39 PM

    This is a contract Glenn Sather would be proud of!

    Serioually what is it with these GMs giving out long term contracts based on one good playoff run, or one decent year among others that weren’t so decent? I could see trying it for one year or something, but four years based on one playoff run? Horrible idea, especially in the hard cap world.

  8. watermelon1 - Mar 22, 2012 at 4:34 PM

    “Even if his work ethic is there, Washington needs more than just hustle and defensive responsibility from Ward.”


    This sentiment couldn’t be more WRONG,

    That’s EXACTLY what they need from him… but more importantly, that’s EXACTLY what they need from a lot more people on that team. Every single defensemen needs to take a note from Ward, and stop leaving their goalie(whoever it ends up being on any given night) hung out to dry. Mike Green and John Carlson… I’m talking to you two more than anyone else. Ward is one of the only Capitals willing to battle on the boards and usually wins the puck. The same type of play that I really missed when Donald Brashear and Matt Bradley were playing for DC.

  9. xhankmoodyx - Mar 23, 2012 at 11:23 AM

    Some of our top players could learn a thing or two about battling for loose pucks from Ward. Yes GMGM overpaid for him, but people saying he is terrible don’t know much about the game as he’s one of the best defensive forwards on the team.

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