Found March 04, 2013 on Shutdown Line:
Carolina_hurricanes_v_4b30
Hurricanes fans are fearing the worst right now, as it was announced earlier this morning that their goaltender Cam Ward will miss the next 6-8 weeks with an MCL sprain. Things certainly could have been a lot worse judging from how bad the injury looked when it happened, but at the very least, it's good to know that this isn't anything season-ended or career threatening. That's the good news, the bad news is that the Hurricanes are going to be without their starting goaltender for possibly the rest of the season and that's a big piece to lose no matter what team you are. Ward wasn't having a great start to the year, but his last five games have been terrific and he has stolen more games for the Hurricanes over his career than he has lost. What many are wondering now is whether or not losing Ward for the next two months will ruin Carolina's season. To put it bluntly, no. Ward is a very good goaltender, but he is not elite and this has been restated countless times. His performance since 2007 has ranged from above average to great and his even strength save percentage was at only .917 this season, which is slightly below average. The one thing that Ward provided was stability in net since he has been the goaltender in Raleigh for so long. He isn't Pekka Rinne or Henrik Lundqvist, so the Hurricanes just need to get average to above average goaltending out of Dan Ellis and Justin Peters the rest of the way and they should be in good shape.  The question then becomes whether or not Ellis/Peters can provide the Hurricanes with that. The rule of thumb with goaltending is that predictions are basically useless and you never know what to expect with them. This is especially true with only 27 games remaining in the season. Ward's numbers tend to fluctuate a bit over the course of a season but you generally expect him to end up with an EV save percentage of around .918-.923 at the end of the season and know what you're going to get. Ellis and Peters have been pretty much the opposite of that and it's mainly because they haven't played in many games. I talked about Ellis and his hot start a week ago and how he was likely going to regress soon, but his career numbers have been around the .919-.923 mark when he was playing around 30-40 games a year. The one exception was his 2010-11 season with the Tampa Bay Lightning where he posted a sub-.900 save percentage for most of the year. Compare that to his career numbers and I feel safe to say that it's an aberration and Ellis has been an average to above average goalie in limited action. Whether or not he can give the Hurricanes that while starting the majority of games down the stretch remains to be seen. Justin Peters, on the other hand, is a bit of an interesting case. He has played only 28 total NHL games and his performance has been largely uneven. He had a decent nine games with Carolina in his first season but completely fell flat in his second year as Ward's back-up. Peters would then play seven games with Carolina last year and posted unbelievable numbers. The graph below shows how much of a roller coaster Peters journey in the AHL has been. Peters has been either Hasek or Grahame on any given night without much in between, or at least that's been the case in the NHL. Either way, I think it is fair to say that his "true" talent level at the NHL is unknown and the Hurricanes are going to have to find out the hard way by letting him play some games during the remainder of the season. Peters has been in the system long enough to earn this shot, so I think we will be seeing him start a game for the Hurricanes very soon. How he will perform there remains to be seen and his performance in the AHL isn't exactly making the crystal ball any less hazy. Sure, Peters' save percentage of .921 is 7th best in the AHL and it looks strong on paper, but let's remember than anything can happen in 27 games, possibly less since Ellis might get the bulk of the starts. Looking at Peters' performance by game with the Checkers this year tells us that the Hurricanes really should just expect the unexpected with both him and Ellis. Take any five-game stretch here and you could either get a goaltender with a save percentage of .920, .860, .960 or .900. In other words, anything can truly happen with Peters in the NHL and his performance with the Hurricanes last season is a prime example of that. My opinion is that the Hurricanes have been a good enough team at even strength to get by with average goaltending, so all Peters and Ellis have to do is not stink for the next 20 games or so and the Canes should be in good/decent shape heading into the playoff stretch. Whether or not they give the Hurricanes good enough goaltending remains to be seen but at this point, it is silly to write off Carolina's season because of Ward's injury.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Cam Ward out 6-8 weeks with knee injury

The Carolina Hurricanes say goalie Cam Ward will miss six to eight weeks with a sprained knee ligament. The team announced Ward's diagnosis Monday and said the former All-Star goalie will not require surgery. The team says Ward suffered a third-degree sprain to his medial collateral ligament midway through the second period of Sunday night's 3-2 win at Florida. He hurt...

Hurricanes' Ward out 6-8 weeks

The Carolina Hurricanes say goalie Cam Ward will miss six to eight weeks with a sprained knee ligament. The team announced Ward's diagnosis Monday and said the former All-Star goalie will not require surgery. The team says Ward suffered a third-degree sprain to his medial collateral ligament midway through the second period of Sunday night's 3-2 win at Florida. He hurt...

Ellis must step up in goalie Ward's absence

For a goalie of Cam Ward's stature, there have been some uncomfortable moments this season. Mostly, they have come in terms of Ward's having to fight for his starts something the 29-year-old has not had to do since his rookie season of 2005-06, when he ultimately led the Carolina Hurricanes to the Stanley Cup, winning the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP in the process...

'Canes G Ward out 6-8 weeks with knee injury

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) The Carolina Hurricanes say goalie Cam Ward will miss six to eight weeks with a sprained knee ligament. The team announced Ward's diagnosis Monday and said the former All-Star goalie will not require surgery. The team says Ward suffered a third-degree sprain to his medial collateral ligament midway through the second period of Sunday night's 3-2 win...

Video- Cam Ward Injured Tonight

The first part of the video you see Jack Skille of the Panters sliding into Ward, who was slow to get up.  When play started again, Ward stretched a bit to make a save and then went down on his own. Injury appears to be either his back or leg but you can see he was uncomfortable coming off the ice. Dan Ellis who replaced Ward was scheduled to start the game but was ill, so Ward...

Matt Karash: Ward out 6-8 weeks...Need to just keep finding a way

The Canes picked up another 2 points in Florida last night in lackluster game where both teams just looked worn out. But the bigger news heading into today was the status of Cam Ward. He left the game after a Canes defenseman came barreling into him with a Panther in tow. Strange was that he was slow to get up, but after being attended to by trainer Pete Friesen, he stayed in...

Cam Ward Out 6-8 Weeks

RALEIGH, NC – Jim Rutherford, President and General Manager of the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes, today announced that goaltender Cam Ward has been diagnosed with a third-degree sprain of the medial collateral ligament (MCL). Surgery will not be required for the injury, and he is expected to be out six to eight weeks.

Pick Six: Soreness in the Southeast

Cam Ward and Jose Theodore owners haven’t exactly had it easy this season, even before the news that both goalies would be sidelined for much of what’s left of the fantasy hockey season. But when one door closes, another one opens – unless someone else beat you to the waiver wire for their possible replacements. Regardless, let’s find out how these replacements could shape...

Sabres-Hurricanes Preview

While the Carolina Hurricanes have climbed to the top of the Southeast Division, staying there could prove difficult with their starting goalie sidelined. The Hurricanes try to overcome Cam Ward's absence as they go for a season-best fourth consecutive win and three-game season sweep of the visiting Buffalo Sabres, who are hoping to have Thomas Vanek available Tuesday night...

Improved Prospects For Habs' Road Trip

The schedule makers seemed to be giving the Canadiens a hard time of it this week, calling for five games in eight days, all on the road. But Les Bleu, Blanc et Rouge answered the call Sunday night with a 4-3, come-from-behind win in Beantown. Suddenly, the rest of the week looks quite a bit brighter.   Of the remaining four games, only one is against a team with a winning record...

Weekend Update: Back in Green

photo by: sportsdeke.com Welcome to the Weekend Update. This is the weekly article that keeps you up-to-date on the NHL Standings, provides you with videos from around the world hockey in the week that was, and informs Nashvillians on the televised NHL games in the upcoming week. In this edition Ward stops Ward, another milestone for Selanne, the Green Men are back,...

Southeast Division Standings Update

The Hurricanes did themselves a huge favor this weekend by picking up two wins against the Florida Panthers because it now gives them a bit of a cushion on their lead in the Southeast Division. Things are still pretty tight, though as the Winnipeg Jets trail them by only four points and Canes have recently come out of a stretch where they lost three divisional games. Carolina'...
NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.