The International Ice Hockey Federation’s decision to move the men’s Olympic roster announcement deadline from Dec. 31 to Jan. 7 wasn’t warmly received in our office (it really messes with one of our print deadlines), but hey, this isn’t about us.
It does give injured hopefuls such as Tampa Bay superstar Steven Stamkos a bit more time to heal before their countries submit names. It also allows players on the bubble another week to shine (or falter) before the final decision is made.
Could one of those players be Carolina Hurricanes’ stopper Cam Ward?
Flames’ president and Team USA director of player personnel Brian Burke told the Calgary Sun’s Eric Francis if he were picking for Canada, right here and now, he’d go with Ward. “He’s out of his mind right now,” Burke said. “You can’t beat him.”
Ward has been solid-to-scorching since missing 3-1/2 weeks with a groin injury. He was the primary reason the Canes earned points in a couple of his four starts, during which he was 2-1-1 with a .920 save percentage. Included in his stops have a been a couple of absolute gasp inducers. First on Adam Henrique of the Devils last night.
And earlier this week on Ottawa’s Colin Greening.
We’re thinking Ward, who wasn't invited to the summer orientation camp, will need a few more highlights and a whole lot of consistency to be seriously considered for one of Canada’s three openings.