Carolina Hurricanes goalie Cam Ward has a lot driving him as a new season approaches – a motivational checklist if you will.

Ward wants to lead the Hurricanes back to the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time since 2009.

He wants to prove he’s an elite goaltender in the NHL.

He wants to play well enough to reenter the running for a spot on Canada’s Olympic team for the 2014 Games.

Finally Ward wants to prove a serious knee injury last season was only a temporary setback.

Canes coach Kirk Muller said he senses Ward has “fire in his belly.” And Ward agrees.

“I definitely do” Ward said this week. “Last season obviously is one I’d like to forget. I feel confident I’ve done everything I can this summer to get my body in the best shape I possibly can to have a healthy season. I want to make a big impact on this hockey team and let my play do the talking.”

Ward 29 was hugely disappointed in 2010 when the Winter Olympics were held in Vancouver. Invited to Team Canada’s orientation camp in the summer of 2009 he was hindered by back issues. Then he was slashed by a skate in November 2009 sidelining him for a month.

Hurricanes teammate Eric Staal was chosen for the Canadian team and returned with a gold medal. Ward stayed home.

Now there’s the knee. Ward suffered a third-degree sprain of his left medial collateral ligament during a March 3 game in Florida shelving him the remainder of the year.

When the invitations went out for the Team Canada Olympic camp that begins Sunday Ward’s name was not included. But the team selections won’t be made until December and Ward would like to think there’s still time to make a case.