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Joel Ward: “It’s tough when you let the team down on a play like that”

May 7, 2012, 10:58 PM EDT

Washington Capitals v New York Rangers - Game Two Getty Images

Earlier in the 2012 playoffs – and during plenty of moments in the 2011 postseason – Washington Capitals forward Joel Ward was a surprise hero. That won’t take the sting off Monday’s events a whole lot, however, as his late high-sticking double-minor opened the door for not one, but two enormous New York Rangers goals. To his credit, Ward owned up to the mistake to Tarik El-Bashir and other media members.

“It’s tough when you let the team down on a play like that,” Ward said.

Stephen Whyno captured Ward’s mood beyond that mature quote.

Joel Ward answers questions with his usual class, then sat at his locker for what felt like five minutes. Guys don’t just sit there. Surreal.

Obviously, Ward’s mistake was enormous, yet the Capitals’ penalty kill still cratered in the end. It’s one thing for a team to make a penalized player feel grief with one power-play goal, but New York did it twice. Brad Richards tied it with just seven seconds left in the third while Marc Staal collected the game-winner with about 23 seconds left in the second minor.

The Rangers now find themselves with a gift of a 3-2 series lead on a 3-2 OT win, their second overtime victory of this series. Ward and his team has a chance to soothe some of the pain starting with Game 6 on Wednesday; otherwise the likeable winger will have a lot of regrets this summer.

  1. mrpigs - May 7, 2012 at 11:04 PM

    As a die hard blue shirter, I really respect ward for owning it, it takes guts! Can’t believe what I saw tonight, what a game rangers, you better take advantage this time, caps are a great time! LGR

    • bethgoesglobal - May 8, 2012 at 2:27 AM

      Of course he owned up to it. I can’t think of any player that wouldn’t considering the circumstances. What are you gonna do, pretend it didn’t happen; that it was because of poor defense or bad goaltending? You can’t ignore the facts- he took a bad penalty and it ended up biting the Caps in the butt.

  2. cspsrbums - May 7, 2012 at 11:19 PM

    Not Wards fault need to win Faceoffs down the stretch would have ended the game if they won just one Dale need to keep Wideman and Shultz off the I’ve on for 2 goals again -8 for the playoffs

  3. caps247 - May 7, 2012 at 11:24 PM

    I admit I did bash Ward for the loss, but now that I’ve cooled down I’ll also admit the guy has class. This loss was a heartbreaker for all Caps fans, and it stung right down to the bone. Hopefully the Caps can rebound at home ice on Wed. and steal game 7 like they did to the Bruins.

    • ravenscaps48 - May 7, 2012 at 11:29 PM

      Me as well… Schultz and Wideman must go, bring back Big John and Dmitry…

  4. taintedlombardis - May 7, 2012 at 11:37 PM

    Caps want a refund on that horrendous contract…

  5. napoleonblownapart6887 - May 7, 2012 at 11:46 PM

    As thrilling as it is to see Marc Staal and the rest of those guys celebrate, it’s equally crushing to have see Ward relive his mistakes.

    Not a Caps fan by any stretch, but the way that Joel Ward has handled the racial reaction after his series winner, and the way he appears to be handling this (and also another round of racist tweets) proves that this guy is truly a class act and what athletes should aspire to be. Good for you Joel. Best of luck the rest of the way.

  6. dawglb - May 7, 2012 at 11:51 PM

    Sooooooo many things could have made Ward’s mistake be a non-issue. However, just about everything that could have gone wrong, did. Hunter’s press conference was excellent. If you get a chance to watch it, do so.

  7. swizope82 - May 8, 2012 at 7:38 AM

    I wonder how the headlines would have read, or how the fans would be reacting had Laich, Backstrom, Green, or Ovie committed the penalty. Obviously it wasn’t any of the above and we know the outcome. Give Ward some credit for not running off and hiding after the gwg. He owned up to his mistake, apologized for letting his team down, and gained this CAPS fans respect. This loss hurts a bit more than the 3 OT from the other night but this team will not let up. It would be nice for all the haters to shut up and deal with it. Give the man some credit and your team belief. This is the reason there are 7 games… And just remember, ANYONE’S stick could have went high at 19:39… RTR

  8. chumthumper - May 8, 2012 at 10:10 AM

    Kudos to Ward for manning up. Some guys in the league would have blamed it on their stick being too long.

  9. bruins33 - May 8, 2012 at 12:25 PM

    @ PHT – you guys aren’t even going to address all the racist remarks on twitter that occurred following the game? You guys didn’t hesitate earlier to point the finger at Bruins nation. Lets exercise some impartiality here guys.

    • homelanddefense - May 8, 2012 at 2:13 PM

      I was actually about to post the same thing Bruins33. Tons of racist comments on twitter last night about Ward, 99% outside of Boston. Nothing on here about that though……

  10. bmore4 - May 9, 2012 at 8:13 AM

    Penalties happen so lets not forget the caps penalty killers allowed the rangers 4 shots before that tieing goal. You cant let that happen, the goalie is there to make the first save (in this case he made the 2nd and 3rd) and finally the 4th whack at the puck by Richards goes in. The Caps players cannot let that happen ( you let that happen when you’re even strength its a goal too)

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