The Washington Times - July 2, 2011, 01:54PM

In what may have sounded like a dig at some other players whose playoff performances haven’t matched the regular season, George McPhee said Friday “I’d rather have someone that gets 10 to 15 in the regular season and delivers in the playoffs – than someone who gets 25 and doesn’t.”

If you want to look at it on the positive end, McPhee was extolling the pickup of big right wing Joel Ward, who scored seven goals and piled up six assists in just 12 playoff games with the Predators this past spring. Ward got a four-year, $12 million contract from the Capitals, who will count on him to keep that up.


Ward feels he can be an ingredient to winning when it matters most.

“I love playoff hockey and I think it’s such a fun time of year,” Ward said on a conference call Saturday afternoon. “I think everyone thrives on it. You wanna try to hoist the Stanley Cup and that’s what I’m gonna try to do and hopefully bring that to Washington.”

In the past few years, the Caps haven’t thrived on it. Ward isn’t a sexy acquisition, but his mindset about performing in the playoffs seems to be what this team needs.

“That’s the fun part about it is [that] it’s a challenge for you and your teammates,” Ward said. “This is the playoffs, and you’re playing for the prize. That’s what I look forward to. You get very hungry that you wanna win and you try to help your team as best you can.”

McPhee and Boudreau praised Ward for his versatility and ability to move up and down the lineup. He’ll likely see most time on the right wing but can also take faceoffs in a pinch, too.

More than anything else, Ward will help replace Matt Bradley with some play in the corners and provide another guy who will stand in front of the net like Mike Knuble.

“I definitely know my role, whether it’s to be 1, 2, 3, 4 – winning games is the main thing,” he said. “Regardless of who I’m playing with I’m just gonna try to create some space for my linemates and some opportunities and just be defensive sound.”