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Hurricanes goalie Ward putting team ahead of contract

by Sean McCullen /

Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Cam Ward said Thursday he wants a new contract, but the top priority for the 31-year-old entering training camp is helping his team win as many games as possible this season.

"I'm just kind of going about my business and making sure that I'm ready to go," said Ward, who is entering the final season of the six-year, $37.8 million contract he signed in September 2009. "Obviously it's no secret that I love playing here and this is where I want to be. Yeah, in a perfect world it'd be great to have something done. But there's no pressure. Obviously I need to prepare myself and go out there and have a great year, not only for myself but for the Hurricanes. It's about the team first."

Ward is 246-191-58 in 512 regular-season games in10 NHL seasons, all with the Hurricanes.

He and captain Eric Staal, who also is entering the final season of his contract, are the only players left from Carolina's 2006 Stanley Cup championship, when Ward won the Conn Smythe Trophy as a rookie. The Hurricanes have made the Stanley Cup Playoffs once since, in 2009.

Ward is expected to share goaltending duties this season with Eddie Lack, who the Hurricanes acquired June 27 in a trade with the Vancouver Canucks for two draft picks. Ward was 22-24-5 with a 2.40 goals-against average and .910 save percentage in 51 games last season; Lack was 18-13-4 with a 2.45 GAA and .921 save percentage in 41 regular-season games for the Canucks, and 1-3 with a 3.03 GAA and .886 save percentage in four playoff games.

"From what I understand he's a great guy, and obviously he's going to push myself and vice versa," Ward said of Lack, 27. "I haven't seen a whole lot of Eddie just from him being out in the West and us being in the East, but looking forward to meeting him, looking forward to pushing one another. ??? Nothing is going to be given to me. You've got to go out there and earn your ice time and earn your right to play in the games.

"I had a great trainer this summer that worked me extremely hard, and you know wanted to make sure that I come into camp in the best shape possible. I think as you get older it becomes obviously a lot more important to sustain a long season and to be able to play at an elite level."

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