Cam Ward knows it's a long-shot but hasn't given up hope — on his team's chances of turning the season around and making the playoffs, on his chances of making the Canadian Olympic team.
Team Canada for the Vancouver Games will be announced Wednesday, and Ward long was considered one of the top goaltending candidates. But that was before his leg laceration Nov. 7, before he posted some very average goaltending numbers during the Canes' struggling, disappointing season.
"I'm sure not getting my hopes up," Ward said today of the announcement. "I know it has been a tough year. I obviously will be looking (Wednesday) and keeping my fingers crossed, but by no means am I holding my breath."
Ward is 4-13-5 this season after the Canes' 4-3 shootout loss Saturday to the Philadelphia Flyers. He allowed two first-period goals as the Canes fell behind 2-0, then a power-play goal by Daniel Briere in the third.
But there also were some sparking saves. In overtime, Ward was on his side as the Flyers' Mike Richards made a nifty move across the crease, dragging the puck. But the goaltender popped up his glove to make a vintage Cam Ward stop.
"I felt good," he said. "Obviously it would have been better to get off to a better start in the first 10 minutes of the first period. But I thought we did a good job of getting it back together.
"For myself it would have been easy to let in two goals in the first 10 minutes and then fall apart, but I tried to fight through it and give my team a chance to win."
Ward was coming off one of his worst starts — being pulled against the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday after giving up three goals on their first seven shots.
"It's never fun getting pulled in the first place, much less the first 10 minutes of a hockey game," he said. "But it's how you deal and respond from those situations and I wanted to come back and have a strong performance last night, and for the most part I felt really good. It just continues to be frustrating with the results but if I continue to battle and keep working hard eventually those results will turn in our favor."