I remember it like it was yesterday. The Kings were struggling and had decided that it was time to trade veterans for youth. On the other side of the country, the Rangers were on the verge of a Cup run and needed to add some scoring power as well as feistiness. They soon found one another and came to an agreement. I was just settling into a long day at work when I heard news of the trade. Reports were sketchy at first, but I soon learned that the Kings had traded for a player who would soon change my life forever: Jason Ward.
Jason Ward instantly made an impact in a Kings uniform. He electrified the line-up when he played; guys always had to play harder when he was on the ice. The former first-round draft pick soon made the Staples Center crowd forget all about Sean Avery, mucking it up to the tune of 4 penalty minutes in 7 games. He proved he was a prolific set-up man as well. Remember the goal that Kopitar scored when he went around two Nashville defensemen, out-waited Vokoun and went around the net, and then put the puck into the top-left corner? You know who gave him that puck? That’s right: Jason Ward. Sure, that was his only point in a Kings uniform, but we all know how unreliable scorekeepers can be.
The Ward era seemed destined to go on forever (it lasted 528 whole hours!) but it ended all too soon. This past trade deadline, Jason Ward was traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning for a king’s ransom (a fifth-round draft pick) so that they too could get a taste of the Wardgic. (Ward + Magic = Wardgic) There were other trades made by the Kings that day (some guy named Nordstrom got traded, but I never remember him playing), but losing Ward hurt the most. When I heard he was traded, my innocence died. I honestly thought we’d be together forever, but it just wasn’t meant to be. The only thing I can do is remember the good times we had and hope that, one day, we’ll be together again. Godspeed, Jason Ward. I love you.