Carolina Hurricanes Cannot Take Risks With Starting Cam Ward

By Michael Peckerar
James Guillory - USA Today Sports
James Guillory – USA Today Sports

It would be a safe thing to say that Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Cam Ward has spent the season being enigmatic at best.

His erratic play and completely unreliable performance has raised questions in many circles about whether or not his tenure in Carolina should be finished. Ward himself is not helping anyone answer these questions. Just when it looks like the boot is what he needs to be given, he turns in a performance like he did Tuesday night against the New York Rangers.

While it wasn’t exactly the old-timey Ward everyone remembers, the one who would stand on his head to shut down Alex Ovechkin, it also wasn’t the train wreck we’ve been seeing.

So it creates a new issue with no clear answer. The problem is whether or not to give Ward another shot at the starting job. Was he simply on his game for one night and he’ll be back to his disastrous self in no time? Or has he turned a corner in his comeback and has finally summoned up the resolve to play at the level for which he is being paid to play? It’s honestly hard to say.

There was a time where head coach Kirk Muller could just throw any goalie out there and see what happened. The worst thing would be the Hurricanes taking a loss and coming back the next game. With their streaky nature this season, it was an option. That option is way off the table and maybe not even in the same dining room anymore. Muller has got to have a reliable netminder between the pipes every single game. That is non-negotiable.

It’s a fine line being tred by Muller, Ward and the rest of the organization. Should Ward start against the Buffalo Sabres Thursday night, he needs to show the team he’s got what it takes to lead Carolina down the stretch and recover the season.

Michael Peckerar is a Hurricanes writer for Follow him on Twitter @peckrants, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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