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Q & A with Joel Ward

by Sarah Ryan / Nashville Predators How does it feel to be resigned with Nashville?

Joel Ward: It’s a great feeling. It’s where I have wanted to be since I left Nashville back in May. I was hoping to be back but it was just a longer process than I thought. I’m definitely glad to be back for sure. I’m looking forward to it.

I knew all along that Nashville was the place I wanted to be. It was a good fit last year and I’m glad things worked out again. I’m ecstatic. I’m excited right now and I am looking forward to training camp and the upcoming season. Can you talk about that process?
JW: It was just ongoing. There were things obviously with Steve Sullivan, other free agents plus the draft, Mr. Poile had a lot of other things going on. It was just a sit-and-wait-until-it-was-my-turn type of thing and once it came I’m glad things worked out.

I was a little nervous, a little anxious, lost a little sleep last night because this is the first time for me going through that process. The thought of not coming back to Nashville was a little weary over my head because I did gain a lot of friendships even though I was just there for a year. I got along with everyone and the coaching staff. But you know, when I woke up this morning I was positive about it, hoping things would work out and as you can see, they did. I’m just excited to come back to Nashville. You wanted to come back to Nashville. What is it about the city and the team that you wanted to come back to?
JW: I liked everything about it. The people we really friendly, they treated me pretty well and the fans were great. I can remember a lot of home games where the fans where on their feet. It’s a good nucleus coming back to with the team and the coaching staff and the opportunity I got. At the same time it was the city, I enjoyed living there and getting around there having a lot of fun with my teammates and friends there. A lot of it was the people and the city itself, they had a lot to offer that I liked. It was a good hockey atmosphere at the same time, which I enjoyed. After bouncing around for awhile, how does it feel to have a multi-year contract?
JW: That was an important factor for me. After being there last year, I definitely wanted to be in Nashville for more than just one year. And now I have made that happen and I’m looking forward to it again this year. There’s definitely a bit of a comfort level now that you know that you’ve got a term for longer than just one year. I’m excited about that and, like I said, I enjoyed the city itself and what it had to offer. I’m looking forward to the upcoming season with the Preds. Have you been training much this summer?
JW: I’ve been training. When I got home for the summer I took about two weeks off or so but I’m back into training mode now. I’m working out four or five times a week and skating as well – I’m doing power skating. The goal is to obviously be better than last year and that’s what I am trying to aim for. Obviously, you’ve got to put in the time here in the summer. What are you doing besides training?
JW: I am a big Toronto Blue Jays fan so I have been to a few of those games when I get a chance to go with some buddies of mine. Other than that, working on my golf game has been very key – been working on that. Golfing and a few Blue Jay games are the two things I’ve been doing this summer away from the hockey side. My golf game has been getting better, that’s for sure. I’m starting to break the 100 mark, which is pretty important. So you’ll be ready for the Golf Tournament in September then?
JW: Yeah, definitely. I get invited to golf tournaments a lot and I’m kind of embarrassing myself so I figured I’d better start playing some more and get better. There are a few people I need to prove myself to and my teammates are giving me a hard time so I’m kind of hoping to correct that come September time. Have you been talking to any of your teammates over the summer?
JW: I’ve talked to Ryan Jones a bit and Shea Weber. I’ve seen some of the guys at the NHLPA meetings like Sullivan and Zanon and a few old faces, even Rich Peverley. I’ve been talking to Shea Weber quite a bit, I usually stay in contact with him and we shoot the breeze whenever we get the chance. Do you ever talk to the guys about next season and what you need to do to be prepared and successful?
JW: I’ve only chatted so much about the hockey side of things. But I think the main thing is just health. We just kind of had a bad stretch of injuries toward the end and we just kind of came up short. I believe that if those guys had been back and healthy and we’d had a full team that we would have done some damage. But that’s just the way she goes. Again, we’ve only talked so much about the hockey side and the game plan going into the season but obviously it is definitely making the playoffs and doing some damage from there.

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