The Strange Case of Keith Ballard

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Fred
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The Strange Case of Keith Ballard

Post by Fred »

I don't know if any ones seen this, but it's an interesting artcile ( IMO ) I'm sure there be those that will take offence one way or another but for those that just want a good read :D

http://thehockeywriters.com/the-strange ... h-ballard/

good video at the end :D

Man you need danger pay just to post these days :D
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Re: The Strange Case of Keith Ballard

Post by dbr »

Good article (although obviously a lot of it isn't news to Canuck fans).

It's probably worth mentioning that KB4 is a bit of a hot button issue to many of this boards newer posters, since at our old board he was the favourite hobby horse of several posters who seemed to think that Keith Ballard was somehow responsible for the Keith Ballard trade (and also for Michael Grabner's subsequent 30+ goal season).

That being said, I'm ready for a fresh start in the discussion of this player - he doesn't deserve to be dragged through the mud because of what or who Mike Gillis gave up to get him, but obviously there are many questions about what he has to offer this team.

Is his reputation built on being a good player on bad teams? Is his freewheeling style simply not a good fit within the Canucks well-defined system? Or will fitness and confidence make enough of a difference for him to earn a top four role this season?

If I was a betting man, I would say that while Keith Ballard is going to be a more effective player with a slightly longer leash this season he will probably not escape the third pairing at even strength (with everyone healthy, at least) due to his inability to play the right side. I would expect him to play on the penalty kill and see some time on the second powerplay unit, however.

Then again, last year I thought Ballard was actually quite solid in his own zone most nights - blocking shots, throwing hits, covering the front of the net and generally just being miserable to play against. Not our best defenseman but certainly not our worst either. I also was totally bewildered by how he was handled by the coaching staff on a number of occasions.

Anyway, I hope that Ballard, the coaches and everyone else are also ready for a fresh start this season; last year went so bizarrely sideways for KB4 that it's probably just best to learn what you can from it, throw the rest out and move on.
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Re: The Strange Case of Keith Ballard

Post by LotusBlossom »

I always thought Ballard got a bum rap last year from all the 'haters' (especially the band-wagoning media in this town). For the longest times, Blake Price defended him until he 'bumbled' in the playoffs after sitting out nearly most of it at that point.

I too expect a bit more from Ballard this coming season. I expect he will be dressed most nights and getting appropriate third pairing minutes. With the guys ahead of him in the depth chart, unless he shows he really belongs, I don't see him ousting guys like Juice, Sami, Edler and Hammer.

Most of what dbr posted what I was going to say, so I am pretty much in agreement with his post.

Also Fred, thanks for the good read. Danger pay? :lol: From time to time we all get a lil emotional about this team...right?
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Re: The Strange Case of Keith Ballard

Post by Vpete »

Ballard needs to be fit. He was never fit last year. Fitness makes so much of a difference in decision making and playmaking. If Ballard can come to camp in shape, fit and injury free there is no reason why he cannot be a serviceable player and get some top 4 minutes. But it's up to him.

Look at the change Alberts had from post season 2010 to opening 2010-11. Miracles do happen.
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Re: The Strange Case of Keith Ballard

Post by LotusBlossom »

Vpete wrote:Ballard needs to be fit. He was never fit last year. Fitness makes so much of a difference in decision making and playmaking. If Ballard can come to camp in shape, fit and injury free there is no reason why he cannot be a serviceable player and get some top 4 minutes. But it's up to him.

Look at the change Alberts had from post season 2010 to opening 2010-11. Miracles do happen.
The fitness is very important on this team more so than others, I believe. I also want to give Ballard a bit of a pass on that due to his injury, but absolutely agree with him being more fit as the season progresses.

Let's hope he gets it all together and when I look at it, we have a pretty wicked looking D (again) over all.
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Re: The Strange Case of Keith Ballard

Post by dhabums »

Weird seeing a team captain fight for a teammate.

--

I have no doubt Ballard will be better this fall NOT coming off of hip surgery. If nothing else, maybe he can be the coach killer we need as it seems the annual meltdowns don't seem to be enough. Win/win.
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Re: The Strange Case of Keith Ballard

Post by coco_canuck »

I read that article a couple weeks ago, and it accurately sums up the situation.

The only way the Canucks can replace, or come close to replacing, Ehrhoff without making a trade is getting Ballard into that role.

Despite how poorly he performed at times last year, Ballard has been a perennial big-minute, hard-working top 3 d-man with grit, speed and offensive ability.

He may not have the same level of offensive ability as Ehrhoff, but his defensive game, physicality and PK ability has been stronger, or at least was prior to last season.

Some may say Salo should pair up with Edler, but Salo is only getting older and Gillis has stated the plan with Sami is to limit his minutes and even games to keep him healthier and better prepared for the post-season. As much as I like Tanev's potential, he's not ready to step into that top 4 role quite yet, and as solid as Alberts and Rome have been at times, they're not players you want in your top-4 on a nightly basis.

The main reason I'm optimistic about Ballard, other than his previous success as a player, is his desire to stay here and motivation to come back and prove he's worthy. The Canucks have told him he's got to be better but he getting a clean slate. They did similar things with Alberts and Burrows, and both responded and were rewarded for it.
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Re: The Strange Case of Keith Ballard

Post by Canuck-One »

Vpete wrote:Ballard needs to be fit. He was never fit last year. Fitness makes so much of a difference in decision making and playmaking. If Ballard can come to camp in shape, fit and injury free there is no reason why he cannot be a serviceable player and get some top 4 minutes. But it's up to him.

Look at the change Alberts had from post season 2010 to opening 2010-11. Miracles do happen.
I think this is a bang on assessment. It's tough to do anything when you have a major injury and the hip is major.
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Re: The Strange Case of Keith Ballard

Post by Benjo »

I still fully support the KB4 experiment. I have a lot of respect for the guy after the media gave him every opportunity to piss and moan about the coaching staff and his lack of minutes, to which his reply was "if you don't get it after 65 games, it's not the coaches fault." This guy certainly has the ability and determination to stick with it after a summer where he could have demanded a trade, he certainly deserves another chance. I just hope he makes the most of it, the Canucks really need him to come through so they don't have to play D while they are hurting.
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Re: The Strange Case of Keith Ballard

Post by trouble »

Great Read, Ballard has been the forgotten child with the Canucks, But he has a huge opportunity with The Hoff gone.

The Canucks had a few to many top 4 guys last year and i agree Ballard needs to play a lot of minutes to get into the game and get into the season, I just hope AV gives him that chances cause we are going to need Ballard at his best.

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Re: The Strange Case of Keith Ballard

Post by rats19 »

As has been said.....i also believe ballard will be a big part of the 11/12 version of the canucks. Injury healed..hoff gone...yreatment of last year...renewed vigor.......all works for him..
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Re: The Strange Case of Keith Ballard

Post by herb »

A lot was made of Ballard's rough season last year. It seemed as though everything that could go wrong, did go wrong. Seriously, how often do you see an athlete in any sport have to battle through three significant injuries in one year and have a successful season?

For much of the year I thought KB4 was getting the shaft from the coaching staff, who I thought made some questionable decisions regarding the playing time of Rome/Alberts/Ballard. I still disagree with some of AV's decision making, but at the end of the day we had a rock solid top 4 and Ballard simply did not earn a larger role.

This year, opportunity has come knocking (ditto for Hodgson). The vacancy left by Ehrhoff’s departure is Ballard's for the taking. I don’t think Ballard can become the top grade offensive player Ehrhoff is, but if he can rebound and have a 30 point season on the second pairing then I think we’ll be fine.

As an aside, I really do not want to see Sami Salo on the second pairing all year. We need this guy 100% healthy for the playoffs. His minutes need to be limited.
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Re: The Strange Case of Keith Ballard

Post by Hockey Widow »

Ditto what has already been said.

I too would like to see Salo on the bottom pairing, not because he isn't good but because he may stay fresher that way and he will make the bottom pairing more responsible. Also keeps him fresh for the PP.

I want to see Ballard in the top 4 all year long, OK unless he really sucks eggs. He needs the minutes and the confidence back. He also needs to earn the confidence of AV. If Ballard can get back to the 30+ level then he will have contributed a lot to replacing Ehrhoff.

Our defence is still pretty formidable:

Hamhuis/Bieksa
Edler/Ballard
Salo/ Rome/Alberts


We know Tanev is ready to step in if injuries hit so we know right off the start we have 8 NHL ready D'men. Not a bad place to be. A healthy Salo to start and Ehrhoff out are the only changes from last season. Now if they can stay healthy this year we should do just fine on the back end.
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Re: The Strange Case of Keith Ballard

Post by Southern_Canuck »

When I think about Ballard, it just pisses me off.

The guy that was brought in at such a high cost to play a "significant role" as Gillis said, did not deliver - especially when the Canucks really needed him after the Hamhuis injury and Rome suspension in the Finals.

The trade was a complete and utter fail. It is hard to get hopeful about him after that.

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Re: The Strange Case of Keith Ballard

Post by dhabums »

Southern_Canuck wrote:When I think about Ballard, it just pisses me off.

The guy that was brought in at such a high cost to play a "significant role" as Gillis said, did not deliver - especially when the Canucks really needed him after the Hamhuis injury and Rome suspension in the Finals.

The trade was a complete and utter fail. It is hard to get hopeful about him after that.

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