Joel Ward was all smiles Monday in the Washington Capitals’ locker room, and that had nothing to do with the loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins or his performance. His Baltimore Ravens won the Super Bowl over the San Francisco 49ers.
Ward got to watch with some teammates at Mike Ribeiro’s place.
“It was a good game that came right down to the end, and I think there was the fact that a lot of guys wanted to see me lose because I was decked out in my Ravens gear up head to toe,” Ward said.
The right wing who became a Ravens fan because of Ray Lewis wore the linebacker’s No. 52 jersey, a hat and scarf during the game. And after Baltimore jumped out toe a big lead, Ward didn’t want to jinx anything.
“I literally sat in the same for the whole game … and even with the power outage I still didn’t move,” he said. “But I knew that there was going to be a 49ers wave coming on and I was just hoping that the guys would bear with it, but you can tell, it was too good to be to be true for the score to have stayed [a blowout] all game. But it was good.”
Ward’ Ravens fandom began well before he signed with Washington in July 2011.
“I was a big Ray Lewis fan for a long time, for years, for many years. I took a liking to their style, I was more of a defensive forward and I kind of just took a liking to their style and how they played defense back in the day and just the guys they’ve had like Ed Reed and Ray and [Terrell] Suggs,” he said. “Then it just so happens that I end up coming here to the Caps and I’ve been fortunate to get close to [the team] and see quite a few games, and meet some of the guys.”
If there’s anything Ward can translate from being an NFL linebacker to being an NHL right wing, it’s Lewis’ leadership.
“I definitely try to do my share and lead,” Ward said. “I’m not as vocal, I guess you can say as Ray Lewis but I just try to show it through work ethic and I think that’s part of his strategy too the way he goes out there and plays.”
But don’t think Ward will be sporing Ray Lewis’ trademark face paint anytime soon. Blame Jason Chimera.
“No, no, no,” Ward said. “I think the guys think I’m really obsessed already so coming in with face paint is just another way that Chimmer can say something to me and make fun of me in some sort of way.”