NASHVILLE, Tenn. | In the locker room after the Capitals’ dismal 4-1 loss to the Predators on Wednesday night, there weren’t a lot of smiles. This was, however, the preseason, and a couple of players got to see old friends and teammates along the way.
Joel Ward and Tomas Vokoun both spent a lot of time in Nashville, and while Vokoun most recently was with the Panthers, this was Ward’s first game back at Bridgestone Arena since signing with the Caps on July 1.
“It was a little different for sure. It takes a while to get used to it,” Ward said. “I saw a lot of familiar faces, and it’s a place that is definitely close to me.”
Ward admitted some pregame nerves – nerves that might have been worse if the Predators made a video tribute to him. Fans saluted Vokoun in pregame introductions but didn’t get the chance for Ward.
The ex-Predators right wing finished a minus-1 (he was on the ice for Shea Weber’s goal) on a night when the Caps struggled all around.
Still, this was a chance for Ward to get some returning-to-Nashville jitters out of the way before he and the Caps come back for a regular-season game on Nov. 15. He was laughing with ex-teammates afterward – a common sight outside NHL locker rooms and especially now after spending three years with the Predators.
“It’s a little different since you’re so used to practicing with them and then against them it’s a little different,” Ward said. “But it’s part of the gig, and I look forward to seeing them again for a little bit of revenge.”