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Ward to Start Thursday

by Paul Branecky / Carolina Hurricanes
After returning to practice Wednesday, it appears Cam Ward is set to return to the Hurricanes’ net following an infection on his forehead.

Paul Branecky
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Ward, who was pulled from his scheduled start Monday at Tampa Bay with the ailment, was still sporting a bandage on his forehead but said that he should have no ill effects when he starts against the Montreal Canadiens Thursday at the RBC Center.

“It seems to be better,” he said. “It’s still not great, but I was able to deal with it in practice and didn’t bother me. I don’t think it will be an issue for tomorrow.”

Ward, who reported dealing with swelling, burning, itchiness and limited vision when he first noticed the infection Monday, said part of his test Wednesday was to see how he felt with sweat running down his forehead.

“I felt sharp today and didn’t miss a beat,” he said.

“The chances of something bad happening are very, very, very slim, but that still doesn’t make you feel any better when you’re dealing with any kind of infection like that,” said coach Paul Maurice. “He’s fine, he stopped a lot of pucks in practice today, so he’ll be in the net tomorrow night.”

Ward said that, although he yielded his start to Justin Peters Monday, he was good to go as the team’s backup. He also downplayed the infection and any lingering effects it may have.

“I don’t want to blow this thing out of proportion,” he said. “It’s just a little thing on my forehead and we don’t need to be talking about it around the world.”

Ward added that he had no idea about the origins of the infection, speculating that it could have come from headbands that he wears under his mask during games and practices.

Maurice welcomed the news that Ward would return, citing his play as a big reason for the team’s 5-2-1 run in the month of December.

“He’s been, if not our best player, he and Eric Staal are our two key pieces,” said Maurice. “As with any team that’s probably above the .500 mark, they’re goaltender’s been a big part of the team.”

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