It is no secret that many of the current Washington Capitals are Redskins fans given that the club plays in DC, but there is one very notable exception who actively supports the Baltimore Ravens, and that is forward Joel Ward.
Ward, who scored the series clinching goal against Boston in overtime last spring that put the Caps into round two, has somewhat of a Ravens game day tradition on twitter blasting out his “all Ravens” tweets. This past Saturday, before Baltimore went out and upset the Denver Broncos, #42 posted the following:
I caught up with Ward at Capitals practice on Sunday and asked him about his thoughts on the Baltimore victory in the mile high city.
“Obviously I was screaming like a school girl, I was pretty excited. It was huge, quite the ending. I can only imagine what the flight home could be for those guys,” said the winger who likely enjoyed a similar flight home from Beantown last spring following his OT winner.
Ward, who grew up in Canada and worked his way through juniors and the minors before catching on with the Minnesota Wild and then the Nashville Predators at the NHL level, is a Ravens fans for obvious reasons: #52.
“I’m a big Ray Lewis guy. Been a big fan of just the way he plays the game, his leadership. It’s pretty tough to do as an individual what he does from a leadership standpoint in that locker room and gets the boys fired up. You can tell the guys are following him. I’ve been his fan for a long time now. It just so happened that I came to DC but I’m still a Ravens fan,” added Ward.
Ward, who still hasn’t had a chance to meet Lewis yet but has met some of the other Ravens, attended #52′s last game in Baltimore two Sundays ago and witnessed the famed Lewis “Squirrel Dance” in person.
“I was pretty close, right above the tunnel there. It was pretty cool to see,” said a smiling Ward.
On the ice, Ward looks to improve on a difficult first year in Washington where he battled an injury all season that hampered his ability to get up and down the rink.
“I had a little bit of a hernia issue last year. You want to play is the bottom line, I’m not going to dwell on it too much. I just kind of fought through it each day and battled. I did have surgery in the offseason so now I feel a lot better. It’s something I had to deal with, it’s part of the game. Towards the end of the season we did a lot of good things, I thought we were close, one game away from moving on,” added Ward.
This season it is expected that Ward will see increased ice time given his improved health and the fast pace that Coach Adam Oates wants to play to create turnovers and more scoring opportunities.
“I feel good now…my mind is a lot better than it was before. Playing every day with a little bit of a strain is real tough but now I feel good physically and mentally. I’m anxious to get out there and run into a few bodies,” finished Ward, sounding a bit like his favorite Baltimore Raven.