Former Boston Bruins defenseman Aaron Ward, traded today to Carolina, quickly defused the issue of his being teammates with archrival Scott Walker during a conference call today to discuss the deal today.
“I still have practice. I can get him back in practice,” said Ward with a laugh, before noting that the sucker-punch incident from last spring’s playoffs was “water under the bridge” and that he plans to shake Walker’s hand when they first cross paths now that they’ll be wearing the same sweater.
Ward, swapped for forward Patrick Eaves and a fourth round draft pick in 2010, is returning to the team that he won the Stanley Cup with in 2006 and joining the club that eliminated Boston in a heated, seven-game conference semifinal series last season. While welcoming the move back to where he’s kept his offseason home ever since his years with the ‘Canes, Ward said he was surprised that the Bruins moved him.
“You go through a season in Boston, you’re pretty successful and you think you’re a contributor to the success of a team, and to look at it, it takes you a little bit as a player to get past the personal effects of being traded and the big picture of this is a business and sometimes trades are done for other reasons,” said Ward, alluding to the salary-cap relief aspect of the deal.
Ward is familiar with a number of the players on the ‘Canes from his time with the ’06 Cup team and also played for head coach Paul Maurice during the bench boss’s first stint. With one year left on his deal, Ward acknowledged that he’d like to play beyond this coming season.
Now the Bruins are searching for a replacement on the back end, as general manager Peter Chiarelli stated today he is looking at another defenseman from outside the organization. It’ll be hard to replace Ward’s character and grit, but Boston is going to try. And the ‘Canes will welcome him home with open arms.