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Ask a pro with Cam Ward

Originally published October 18, 2010

Ask a pro is released exclusively for newsletter subscribers each week. We will release them for the rest of our readers three weeks later – it’s just too good to leave in hiding! But if you want to see them as soon as they come out – please subscribe! It’s free.

Coming this week – Alex Auld. One of the most highly regarded backups in the league Alex is now supporting Carey Price in Montreal. He’s had stops in many cities and should be able to shed light on all sorts of topics.

Goalie Cam Ward

InGoal’s Kevin Woodley sat down with Cam Ward of the Carolina Hurricanes to share a few reader questions with him. Kevin took a selection of the questions sent in and shared them with Cam – literally –  as Cam was reading your emails himself off Kevin’s Blackberry in the ‘Canes dressing room after practice. That’s about as close as you can get to being there with Cam yourself!

From InGoal Magazine reader Mason: My questions for Cam are about training. I’d like to know at which age or time in your career did you become serious about training yourself to play in the big league? What’s your favourite off-ice exercise?
Cam Ward:  “I can’t speak on behalf of other goaltenders but I think maybe I was a little bit of a late bloomer when it came to offseason conditioning. I got serious about it just prior to making junior with the Red Deer Rebels, so probably 16 years old. I’m pretty lucky to have a pretty good routine in the summer time, where I enjoy spending time on the water, I like to go work out hard in the morning for a couple of hours and then enjoy the boat in the afternoon.” (Editor’s note: While Cam didn’t list it right away, or cite it as a favorite, he has started doing Pilates as a way to keep his back strong and healthy after it cost him a large chunk of last season – and likely a good shot at making the Canadian Olympic team. Look for more on this in a feature on Ward later this week in InGoal Magazine.)
From InGoal Magazine reader Craig MacDonald: What is the most effective way to mentally remove a goal that has just been scored on you and start over?  Would you say that this mental aspect of the game is more important, less important or as important as the physical skills required to play the position?
Cam Ward: “I think over time you get more and more used to it, but I think it’s just focusing on that next shot. There’s very little that you can do about it after the goal has been scored, but there is something you can do about the next shot and you’ve got to be able to rebound quickly. It just came naturally over time. It’s just kind of instilled in you. And you learn from your mistakes too.”
From InGoal Magazine reader Mike Petrocelli: As a collegiate goalie, I find myself as sometimes having trouble remaining focused. What do you do to stay focused and concentrated on the game?
Cam Ward: “This is kind of like the last question a bit in terms of just always thinking about the next shot. It’s easier on yourself if you break the game down into segments. You break it into one period at a time, one shot at a time.”
From InGoal Magazine contributor (and goalie coach) Tomas Hertz:  I have been told when you are sliding from post to post (say for a wrap attempt) and your boot break is inside the post, that you are able to push off the post with the lower part of your leg towards the top of the crease (say for a pass-out).  Is this correct and how would you go about developing this excellent skill in youngsters?  I ask since having this skill allows you a better seal along the ice vs. sliding to the post and into VH position which would allow you to push off for a pass-out using the inside edge of the V-pad. However, with VH the seal is not as great and if the stick is not between the V and H pad many poor goals are let in by youngsters.
Cam Ward:  “That’s exactly what I do, that’s always what I’ve done, and that’s exactly the point of doing it. But if there is a play out front I also want to make sure I reset my stick and not go out with the paddle down. I want to get back to an upright position and have that stick in front of me. For some reason it feels more comfortable on the stick hand side going with the paddle down as opposed to one leg up. I think it’s because the seal is better and when pucks are thrown out to the front you have an opportunity to redirect it or prevent it from going across the crease. I like to be more aggressive with stick, but that being said you have to be careful, especially in this league, because if you get your stick out wandering too much players can make you look pretty silly.”
From InGoal Magazine reader Michael Lundin: Do NHL goalies get stingers often and do they have a special practice glove that has been beefed up with protection?
Cam Ward: “Oh yeah, I get stingers because I don’t wear a thicker glove in practice. I know a lot of guys use them in the NHL, but I like to be able to practice with the same thing I’m going to use in a game and have the same feel in practice, even if it hurts once in a while.”

About The Author

Kevin Woodley

Kevin Woodley is a rec-league target and former contributing editor of the Goalie News magazine. He has written about the Vancouver Canucks and NHL for The Associated Press, USA Today, Sports Illustrated and The Hockey News for the last decade, and covered the 2010 Olympics for The AP.