My favourite thing about following a hockey team closely is getting to know the unique tendencies of its players. I’ve watched Keith “Hips” Ballard for half an NHL season now, and unlike Drew Miller, I saw this hit coming.

I wasn’t surprised, just like I’m never surprised when Jannik Hansen causes a turnover on the forecheck, or Kevin Bieksa keeps the puck in at the blue line. I can tell when these guys are in their element. It amazes me how every member of a hockey team can be so very, very different, and it’s rewarding to me, as a fan, when I become cognizant of those differences. Keith Ballard seizes every opportunity to throw a hip check. It’s his thing. It excites me every time. Golly, what a hit this is.

I like Drew Miller’s reaction. He gets up and looks at the ref like, I don’t remember what happened, exactly that had to be a penalty. Nope. So fresh, so clean.

How does it stack up against this season’s other fine ruinations? Is it the best? Is it in the top three?

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9 comments

  1. kenny-blankenship
    January 9, 2011

    Truly a thing of beauty

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  2. Anonymous
    January 9, 2011

    a little edge for kenny b

    my wife weighs in:

    This whole hurrah
    rah atmosphere
    does make it hard
    to make it clear:

    only one team
    can win the cup;
    it’s not your year
    so suck it up!

    When all your wins
    mean nothing then,
    you will recall
    the Chicken Hen

    ch

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  3. Canuckles
    January 9, 2011

    It was a perfect open-ice hipcheck which was also an extremely sound defensive move, seperating the opposing player from the puck, negating a possible scoring chance and turning control over the puck to the Canucks.

    It was awesome.

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  4. Anonymous
    January 9, 2011

    ballard on malkin without benefit of the boards gets my vote though hamhuis on murray was decidedly dramatic!
    madwag

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  5. Wisp
    January 9, 2011

    I really liked the one he did on Mallon, where it looked like he had a wolf inside his hips that was leaping out to devour Malkin.

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  6. jake
    January 10, 2011

    after alberts hit on datsyuk, hips comes in at number 2 with that beauty. he was force that shift and the game too. i hope everyones over his "snub". what a joke, bored writers

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  7. kenny-blankenship
    January 10, 2011

    That is a little better ch, I was hoping you'd save it for a reaI loss. Seeing as Chicago won last night and went from 11th to 5th I can understand your zeal

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  8. Anonymous
    January 10, 2011

    What I find most interesting about these "what was the best hit so far this season" polls is that no one really seemed to be asking that last year. Add Hamhuis, Ballard, and Torres into the mix and it all the sudden becomes a valid question.

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  9. Harrison Mooney
    January 10, 2011

    100% astute observation. The Canucks went from a team that barely hits to a team with a bevy of big hitters in one offseason. Hamhuis and Ballard are hip checkers extraordinaire. Edler hits this year. All Andy Alby does is hit. Torres is a human projectile.

    It's wonderful.

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