A hearty crowd arrived at Kettler Capitals Iceplex on Friday to cheer the Capitals and Game 7 hero Joel Ward.
As Ward hit the ice just before 10:30 a.m., fans cheered and teammates tapped their sticks in appreciation for the 31-year-old right wing, who scored 2:57 into overtime to give the Caps a 2-1 win Wednesday night in Boston.
On the flight home from Boston after the game Ward learned he had become the target of dozens of racist remarks on Twitter accounts.
He downplayed the Tweets on Thursday but two former black players rushed to his defense. Former NHL goaltender Kevin Weekes, a good friend of the Ward family, tweeted this message on his account: Utterly disgusted disheartened by racist comments by so-called Fans towards my friend JoelWard for scoring a goal :(
Later on Thursday former NHL forward and current television analyst Anson Carter told the Boston Globe that he received racist comments after he tweeted Warrrrrrrrrrdo!! immediately after Ward scored the game-winner.
One racially charged comment came from a Twitter user from Eastern Connecticut State University and Carter tracked down the college student, who later apologized.
I told him, Dont think you can hide behind your computer and say that to someone, Carter, a former Bruins, told the Globe. Dont act a certain way just because you cant see my face, because you wouldnt say that to me in person.
Carter said the racist tweets are a reminder than racism still exists.
Its a learned behavior that may take generations to overcome, he said. But just because one ignorant person made this comment to me, Im not going to judge every Bruins fan the same way.
Carter played for the Bruins form 1996-2000 and said despite concerns from his parents about playing in Boston his experience was awesome.
Here were the Caps line combinations from today:
Alex Ovechkin - Brooks Laich - Troy Brouwer
Marcus Johansson - Nicklas Backstrom - Alexander Semin
Matt Hendricks - Jay Beagle - Jason Chimera
Mike Knuble - Keith Aucoin - Joel Ward