Just how good is Keith Ballard’s hipcheck on Jamie McGinn? Well, in a game where Henrik Sedin orchestrated a 2-on-1 goal with the unprecented decision to pass the puck through the goaltender’s legs, Ballard’s hit on McGinn still may have been the best play of yesterday’s Game 4. For my money, it is, especially because this isn’t just a regular hipcheck; this is a heady reaction play from the best hipcheck artist on the Canucks, and maybe the NHL.

At this play begins to develop, one might think McGinn is in control. Both men will be arriving at the puck about the same time, but McGinn has no plans to play it. Instead, he sees an opportunity to do to Keith Ballard what he did to both Christian Ehrhoff and Aaron Rome in Game 3. While Ballard has just turned to retrieve the puck, essentially rendering him flat-footed, McGinn is coming down the boards at full speed. He takes his stick off the ice and begins to lower his shoulder for a huge hit.

Ballard sees it and immediately formulates a counterattack. While McGinn is thinking shoulder to shoulder, Ballard is humming Weezer’s Island in the Sun (which is to say, he’s thinking hip-hip). No surprise from the man we call Hips.

The genius is, unlike McGinn, Ballard doesn’t give anything away. While a lot of people telegraph their hipchecks, Ballard plays possum by staying fully upright as the gap between the two men closes. He waits until the exact moment McGinn throws his frame forward at full speed, then he drops his torso, ducking away from McGinn’s intended point of contact and flipping both the tables and McGinn himself. The result is this:

Picture perfect. I like the checkmark where McGinn used to be, as though Ballard just unlocked an achievement on XBox Live.

Tags: , , , , , ,

20 comments

  1. Steve Lockhart
    May 23, 2011

    It truly was a thing of beauty. I think Hank’s five hole pass required more skill though. I’d like to hear your opinion on how hard it is to pull of a great hip-check.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  2. Pilsnerpunk
    May 23, 2011

    That hit was amazing. McGinn should have played that puck, it actually hits his skates. Shows what type of player he is and what he was thinking. He got what he deserved.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: -1 (from 1 vote)
  3. nj
    May 23, 2011

    Completely beautiful. Question is, of course, will it help keep him in the line-up?

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  4. Canuckles
    May 23, 2011

    Wonderful analysis, as always. God I hope we see more of Hips in the playoffs.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  5. caj
    May 23, 2011

    Looked a little low to me.
    Clipping?

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
    • Harrison Mooney
      May 23, 2011

      Marc Joanette is the only referee in the world still calling clipping. Interestingly, Joanette hasn’t called a Canucks game since he made that call, whereas his usual partner, Eric Furlatt, called last night’s game with Kelly Sutherland.

      VN:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  6. Justin
    May 23, 2011

    it was almost the perfect form of revenge on the man who took out one of our best Defenseman

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  7. Christine
    May 23, 2011

    I think I’ve watched this at least 25 times now, its a thing of beauty. Then again, I think every thing Ballard does is.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  8. JS Topher
    May 23, 2011

    I’d just like to point out that contrary to your description, McGinn not only fails to “drop his shoulder” but rather raises his arm in a fashion that may have caused an elbow to head collision on Ballard’s short frame. Cheap.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
    • Harrison Mooney
      May 23, 2011

      He does both, actually. The shoulder comes down, but you’re quite right — he then raises his elbow. Could have been really dangerous.

      VN:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  9. Chazz Ranger
    May 23, 2011

    “I like the checkmark where McGinn used to be, as though Ballard just unlocked an achievement on XBox Live.”

    Laughed out loud. Pure win.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  10. liz
    May 23, 2011

    I think I’ll save the photo with the checkmark to look at when I need cheering up. It’s a masterpiece as was the hipcheck. And just soooo richly deserved.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  11. FerenczyRAM
    May 23, 2011

    Possibly my favorite detail of that awesome picture is the look on the face of the two women to the right of his knee. Priceless.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  12. far_raf
    May 23, 2011

    That was just a sick good hipcheck on a dirty player, well done.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  13. J21
    May 24, 2011

    A little irony in that McGinn injuring two Canuck defenders is what actually got Ballard into the lineup.

    If life were a Marvel comic, Ballard would have produced the following lines of dialogue, all somehow within the split second he threw the hit: “Thanks for getting me back into our lineup, Jamie! Now allow me to return the favor by taking you [i]out[i] of yours! Ha ha!”

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
    • Daniel Wagner
      May 24, 2011

      Marvel? Nah, you’re thinking of late-90′s Image.

      VN:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  14. George Stevens
    May 24, 2011

    Gif it!

    That hipcheck needs to be made into a gif and used throughout the internet. I’ll work on it. Ok, I’ve given up already :(

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  15. George Stevens
    May 24, 2011

    Ha! Gif created. I am the internet.

    http://gifsoup.com/MjU0NTAxNg

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  16. shoes
    May 24, 2011

    Well written and great photo. That is a “wallpaper/screen saver” keeper . Ballard is the best in the league at that check which is one of the most effective clean body checks and a real crowd pleaser. (check out face in background, lol).

    The beauty of it….it usually rattles the player as McGinn more or less vanished for the rest of the game, BUT it seldom injures in a meaningful way, unlike the low class hit McGinn put on Rome.

    Meantime Hodgson gets the puck and its game on. Perfect play and it WAS the GAME changer.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  17. shoes
    May 24, 2011

    Marc Joannette, Eric Furlatt, Stephen Walkom, and Stephane Auger are friends off the ice and should not be included in the ranks of professional referees in the NHL. These 4 buffoons are power tripping and can’t seem to leave their personal feelings at home.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)