Chris Tanev’s promotion has come at the cost of Keith Ballard

When Kevin Bieksa went down with a groin injury, Andrew Alberts came in to play his first two games of the season. Surprisingly, when he returned, Alberts stayed in the lineup and Keith Ballard came out. Then, when Bieksa couldn’t go against Calgary, Cam Barker drew in to the lineup for his first game of the season, while Ballard remained in the press box.

It’s a decision that doesn’t make a lot of sense on the surface. Ballard is a better player than Alberts and Barker and was playing with newfound consistency to start the season. His pairing with Chris Tanev was playing fairly sheltered minutes, but was getting good results, to the point that he and Tanev remained together when Vigneault and Bowness started juggling defence pairs 5 games in.

That pairing has been split up recently, however, as Tanev has begun to take on a larger role in the Canucks’ defence corps. While Tanev excels, however, Ballard has found his ice time steadily declining and it now appears that Ballard is back at the bottom of the Canucks’ defensive depth chart.

With Bieksa out of the lineup, Tanev is the Canucks’ only natural right-side defenceman. In the last five games, including the game against Nashville when Bieksa was injured, Tanev has played fewer than 19 minutes just once, last game against Calgary. His calm, patient approach to the game has made him an easy fit alongside everyone he plays with. He’s essentially become a top-four defenceman with Bieksa out of the lineup, playing with both Alex Edler and Dan Hamhuis. With how he’s performing, he may stay in the top-four when Bieksa returns, relegating Jason Garrison, who hasn’t been playing poorly by any means, to the bottom pairing.

As Tanev’s ice time has increased, Ballard’s has rapidly decreased.

Where Tanev seems to instantly mesh with whoever he’s paired with, Ballard has struggled to do the same. He played on the right side of a pairing with Alberts, then on the left side. Neither seemed to work particularly well. He and Garrison were briefly paired together, and that seemed to work better, but Vigneault seems intent on using Garrison as more of a shutdown defenceman, a role that he isn’t comfortable entrusting to Ballard.

Looking at his last game before being made a healthy scratch, it becomes a bit more clear why Ballard has lost the trust of his coach in the defensive end. Thomas Drance over at Canucks Army broke down his involvement in the two Coyotes’ goals that were scored while he was on the ice, with his most egregious error coming on the Coyotes’ second goal. Instead of defending the front of the net, where Mikkel Boedker got a clear shot on net off a bad bounce, Ballard followed David Moss behind the net for no discernible reason.

It’s a poor decision by Ballard, but it’s reflective of how he played the entire game. In the defensive zone, Ballard tended to stick with his man at all costs, even when the better choice would have been to defend an area or help out a teammate in trouble. Instead of collapsing to the front of the net on broken plays, Ballard followed his check, no matter how far away from the action he was.

It’s certainly important to know where your check is on the ice, but a big part of playing defence is making smart choices and knowing when to leave your man to make a better play. Ballard frequently needs to simplify his game, but against Phoenix he simplified it too much.

It happened again and again. On an early PK shift, he boxed out a man well away from the goal while the puck went to the opposite side on a back door play. On his next shift, he chased his man to the boards, despite Jordan Schroeder coming down low to cover him, leaving the front of the net wide open for a scoring chance. In a second period shift, it happened to work to his advantage, as his man crashed the net and Ballard stayed with him and was able to clear the rebound. In one of his few third period shifts, he did it again, focussing so much on one man that the area in front of the net was completely clear.

The Coyotes’ second goal came almost exactly halfway through the game. In the first half, Ballard had 8:02 in ice time, well on his way to his average of a little over 16 minutes. In the second half, after the 2-0 goal, Ballard had just 4:47 in ice time. Clearly Vigneault did not like his work on that goal. With three days between games, he would have had plenty of time to look at game tape and would have seen that he played the same way throughout the game and likely in previous games as well.

He would have seen something else as well: Ballard rarely passed the puck out the defensive zone himself. On almost every shift, he played the puck to his defence partner to move it out of the defensive zone. Considering his partner for much of the game was Alberts, that was less than ideal. Of the two, Ballard is meant to be the smooth-skating, puck-moving defenceman. Instead, he relied on his defence partner to move the puck out shift after shift.

This worked just fine when he was briefly reunited with Tanev for a couple shifts in the second period. Both shifts were completely uneventful, as Ballard moved the puck to Tanev, who safely skated the puck out of the defensive zone. Watching those two shifts with zone exits in mind made it clear why Ballard and Tanev were so successful as a tandem.

When Ballard did try to move the puck out himself, he didn’t experience much success. He was tagged with 3 giveaways in the game, with one coming in his very first shift as he impatiently slapped the puck around the boards instead of looking for a better option. The puck was picked off easily. The same thing happened just prior to the Coyotes’ first goal, as Ballard failed to clear the defensive zone when he had the opportunity. The third came as he tried to force a pass through an oncoming forechecker. The puck deflected into the slot for a dangerous scoring chance.

If Vigneault didn’t like Ballard’s work in the defensive zone and Ballard wasn’t able to pass the puck out of the defensive zone, how can you blame him for making Ballard a healthy scratch? Without Tanev at his side, Ballard just isn’t as steady and consistent, but the Canucks need Tanev to be more than a bottom pairing defenceman with Bieksa out of the lineup.

This is tough for me to write, because I like Ballard and I think he’s capable of being better, but after watching his performance against Phoenix, it’s clear why he was sent to the press box. Vigneault put it succinctly: “I thought the other six guys gave us a better chance.”

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34 comments

  1. kayfray
    March 5, 2013

    Barker looked fine last game, but I don’t see why AV has to draw in Alberts. For the Kings 2 goals he was in the box, and then out of position chasing his man behind the net

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    • Daniel Wagner
      March 5, 2013

      I agree, Barker looked okay. I was pleasantly surprised. We’ll see how long he lasts.

      I think Alberts has looked fine. He was in the box on a terrible, terrible call, so I don’t blame him for that. He ran over a guy with a clean check and somehow got a roughing call. I’m not sure what you mean about the second goal: that was the puckhandling miscue by Schneider that Alberts tried to swat out of danger. You could maybe blame him for not clearly communicating with Schneider, but that goal isn’t really on him.

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  2. Mitch
    March 5, 2013

    I’ve also liked what Alberts has brought in the few games he’s played. With Alberts you know what you get. Hitting, stay at home, no bells and whistles type of defense. Barker looked OK, didn’t work me, but didn’t have me scratching my head asking “what the hell is he doing” as much as I would have thought.

    This article turned me around and am on board for Ballard basically playing himself out of the lineup. Great stuff.

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    • Daniel Wagner
      March 5, 2013

      I’m hopeful that Ballard can play himself back into the lineup, starting tonight.

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      • dougster
        March 5, 2013

        Has he drawn into the lineup? I agree with Mitch–I see now why AV might sit him down. I think his spirit has been completely broken, and a change of scenery for him is likely the best option for him as a player. It is too bad–he is a better player than what he has shown (or been given latitude to show) in Vancouver.

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  3. Brent
    March 5, 2013

    I just wonder if we picked a couple of games of Bieksa’s and Edler and looked at some defensive gaffs, would we be able to make an argument for them to sit out a couple of games? I suspect the answer is yes, based on my recollection of yelling at the TV. Sure, they have more offensive upside than Ballard, but they certainly do make glaring defensive mistakes as well. It does seem that AV really does not like him much, and is much quicker to pull the plug. IN fact, when was the last time Bieksa or Edler were healthy scratches?

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    • Daniel Wagner
      March 5, 2013

      I only looked at his most recent game, but Vigneault said that he had issues with 3 of his last 4 games and that Ballard shouldn’t have been surprised to be scratched. It’s not about making mistakes in the defensive zone: every defenceman makes mistakes. What was troubling to me was the overall pattern of behaviour, not the glaring mistakes. The mistakes that were easy to see were indicative of how he played all game.

      Bieksa and Edler do make mistakes, but overall they make good decisions with the puck and with their reads in the defensive zone.

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      • Brent
        March 5, 2013

        Well maybe he needs to see a sports psychologist and get his confidence back. Now maybe a game or 2 sitting up top and watching will give him a better flow of the game. He certainly has the potential of offensive upside but I think it has been beaten out of him by AV. He is afraid to make mistakes, thus the outlet passes to Alberts. Look how Gragnani was treated last lear, mr roamer, but allowed to do it for a long time. AV liked him better.

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    • Chris the Curmudgeon
      March 5, 2013

      I’m going to have to agree with Brent here. Edler and Bieksa are both sacred cows on this team when it comes to forgiving mistakes. One might argue that they are drawing tougher assignments, but both appear guilty of far more headscratching boneheaded mistakes than Ballard. Is it possible AV just doesn’t like Keith on a personal level? Certainly he’s been a bit disappointing in a Canuck uniform, but there are other guys whose mistakes are far more egregious in my view.

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  4. Rob
    March 5, 2013

    The Canucks top-4 should be Edler-Tanev, Hamius-Bieksa. Garrisson was a completely unnecessary signing, and Ballard when he plays well is a good 5/6 guy but not at $4.2M. When Bieksa comes back Garrisson is going to have to have to move to the 3rd pair meaning there is $4.6M in the 3rd pair and $4.2M in the press box or if both guys make the bottom pair that’s $8.8M in the bottom pair, which is about $6M too much.

    The Canucks have three players that they do not need making over $4M (Booth being the other guy) hopefully all 3 of them find themselves not in a Canucks uniform beyond this season. One complliance buyout has to go to Garrisson becasue of his NTC, try and trade one of Ballard or Booth and buy out the other and free up $13.05M

    I think one of the biggest causes of the Canucks struggles this season has been the constant blender of defensemen. AV has to settle on the top two pairs and allow MG to make the appropriate moves to find some really gritty defenders for the 5/6/7 spots.

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    • Daniel Wagner
      March 5, 2013

      There is no chance whatsoever that Garrison gets bought out. He’s been playing just fine and will be a key part of the defence corps while he is under contract. As good as Tanev has been, the Canucks couldn’t count on him being a top-four guy prior to the start of the season, given how he struggled against tougher competition last year. Tanev was great on the third pairing last season, but as soon as he was asked to play more minutes, he struggled. This season, that’s not the case. Gillis had to bring in a top-four guy, because it would have been foolish to assume Tanev could take over that role.

      I have no issue with Garrison being paid what he is to play on the third pairing, particularly when the third pairing has been playing more minutes this season and Garrison can play on both the powerplay and penalty kill. He’ll also get plenty of time in the top-four, as injuries accrue or players struggle.

      Booth isn’t going anywhere, because he still makes good things happen on the ice. He had a bit of a slow start coming off his injury, but was one of the Canucks’ best players in Calgary. The goals will start to come before too long. He’s a bit overpaid, but not to the extent that the Canucks need to get rid of him for cap reasons.

      Ballard, however, will likely be bought out. He has limited trade value because of his contract and poor performance with the Canucks. AV clearly doesn’t like his game all that much

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      • Rob
        March 5, 2013

        Keeping both Booth and Garrisson would put the Canucks in a cap crunch next year. Assuming they keep Raymond (2.5M), Schroeder (2.0M), qualify Wiess and Sestito (0.75M ea.) and Tanev (2.0M at least), sign Pinnizotto for 0.75M as a depth forward and move Luongo or Schnieder and bring up Lack, they will have $3.58M for 3 players – a 4th line center, and a #6 and #7 defencman – and thats letting Higgins, Lapierre, Manny, Alberts, and Barker walk. I’m sure they can get all 3 for about 1M a piece but that doesnt leave much wiggle room, if one of the RFA’s needs more cash, they can’t afford to fill out the roster. Even if they want to keep Garisson, I still think it would benefit the Canucks more by buying out Booth and giving Jensen a shot.

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        • Rob
          March 5, 2013

          Check that…. My numbers were bad… Lets say the Canucks keep Garrisson and Booth and they resign Raymond for 2.5M, Tanev for 2.5M, Schroeder for 2.0M, Sestito, Weisse, and Pinizzotto for 1.0M each, trade Lu and bring up Lack, let Manny, Higgins, Alberts, and Barker walk that would put them at $59.07M in commited salary. That leaves 5.23 to sign a couple of depth defencemen and a 4th line center. I guess its not as bad as I first thought but its still really tight and it all depends on what the RFA’s are going to require to keep around.

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          • Daniel Wagner
            March 5, 2013

            I was about to say…

            I don’t think it’s that big a problem. I think Tanev will re-sign for well under $2.5M and I think Schroeder will come in a little under $2M as well. They just don’t have the track record or leverage as RFAs. We’ll see if they keep Sestito, but if he does re-sign it’ll be for closer to 600k or 700k. Same with Pinizzotto. Weise could probably get $1M, though. I think they probably bring back Higgins and Alberts at close to their current deals and bring back Raymond at $2.5M like you suggest.

            Corrado could potentially make the team at his very cap-friendly 600k entry-level deal. Same with Jensen, at 900k. If we assume a Ballard buyout and a Luongo trade, the Canucks should be just fine, particularly if Lack is ready to backup Schneider at 750k.

            The Canucks are always going to be a team that is tight to the cap, because they’re willing to spend money. I’m not too concerned about it. Gilman and Gillis have done a good job so far navigating their way under the cap and I think they’ll be able to continue doing so.

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          • chinook
            March 5, 2013

            I agree there will be sadness in Canucksville when the team payroll must go down to $64.3M but its a mugs game predicting next year’s team because we don’t know which goalie (and who else) will be traded and the Canucks get in return. My guess is it will be a package coming and going. However it works out, I don’t expect Ballard or Alberts to be back. The $crunch is such that I don’t know about Raymond (despite his good play) but I hope Higgins can be squeezed in the budget. A new centre with stronger face-off skills than Lapierre. Wiese on the fourth line but at most only one of Pinnizotto or Sestito, and with Schroeder as centre, but all three at less money than you suggest. Connaugton as the 6th d-man, perhaps Barker as the depth guy. Plus Jensen up front and Lack as back-up, making for three rookies. What do you think Daniel?

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            • chinook
              March 5, 2013

              oops Daniel’s post showed up as I was composing the above. I forgot about Corrado, so yeah, probably him instead of Connaughton. And I’m beginning to think it might be Schnieder that goes (sniffle) and that would add a little to the salary crunch.

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            • Daniel Wagner
              March 5, 2013

              You’re right, it is hard to predict next year’s lineup. Heck, there could be a trade made at the deadline this season that changes everything.

              Raymond might get some decent offers from around the league, so it’s possible he won’t be back. I think Lapierre returns, but I agree that it would be nice to have a depth centre who’s better in the faceoff circle. As for Pinizzotto vs. Sestito, it’s possible that neither comes back. It depends on how well Pinizzotto plays once he’s up and whether Sestito can avoid being a liability.

              Connauton could be the 6th defenceman, but I honestly think Corrado has the inside track thanks to being a right-side defenceman. Depends on training camp and preseason performance, but Corrado looked close to being ready 2 years ago. I’d rather have Alberts than Barker as a 7th defenceman, but I’m going to give Barker a chance to win me over this season.

              I definitely think Jensen will have a good shot to make the team, though he might shuttle between the AHL and NHL during the season. I really hope that Lack will be ready to backup Schneider, as he has a good contract. Depends on how he does coming off his injury.

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              • chinook
                March 5, 2013

                Appreciate your insight. To expand my thinking (for Rob too) – yes I’d rather have Alberts than Barker, but I doubt Alberts will resign for a $1M or less and any more is too much for a 7 d-man under the new salary cap. Also, Barker may have more up-side. I hope for Schroeder at 1.3, Tanev at 1.5, Higgins and Raymond (if he’s back) each at 2.5 tops. Agree with you re: Lack, Pinizzotto, Sestito and your previous comments about Booth – a little over-paid for recent goal production (hence poor trade bait) but I like how he plays and unlikely to be bought out. And the new centre should be a young, strong 3rd to 2nd line player if we’re to give up a premier goalie.

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  5. J21 (@Jyrki21)
    March 5, 2013

    If Vigneault didn’t like Ballard’s work in the defensive zone and Ballard wasn’t able to pass the puck out of the defensive zone, how can you blame him for making Ballard a healthy scratch?

    (1) Because it’s only a single game; (2) Because no other defenseman is held to the same standard (as per Brent’s comment above) — Bieksa in particular, who the advanced stats say has been the weakest of the bunch this year, seems to be able to err with impunity; (3) because in spite of the soundbite, I don’t think anyone believes that either Alberts or Barker give the team a better chance to win, especially with how solid Ballard has been for the most part this year.

    As I’ve stated before, I’m all for rotating players in and out of the lineup and wouldn’t have had a huge problem with Ballard sitting the one game for Alberts to get in some playing time. Why he then had to be scratched a second time when Bieksa was already hurt (and/or when someone else could have sat, including one of the more marquee guys on the second of back-to-back games with travel) is where it starts looking like Vigneault simply not liking the guy rather than evaluating his players objectively: quite un-Moneypuck.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +12 (from 16 votes)
    • Daniel Wagner
      March 5, 2013

      I disagree with the first two of your points. As I indicated in my reply to Brent, it wasn’t just a single game and saying that other defencemen aren’t held to the same standard isn’t addressing my point about Ballard. As I said to Brent, it’s not about defensive miscues and mistakes, it’s about a pattern of behaviour. It’s not just that Ballard made a couple mistakes, he was consistently playing in a way that led to those mistakes.

      Bieksa is an odd case this season: by the advanced stats, he has been particularly bad. Checking his WOWY stats, though, he has been a positive possession player when paired with Garrison or Hamhuis and has only been a negative possession player alongside Ballard or Edler, though he hasn’t spent too much time with either of them. It seems to me that Bieksa has played fine when with one of Garrison or Hamhuis, which has likely been noticed by Vigneault, as he hasn’t put him with Ballard or Edler for any extended period of time.

      As for the third point, I agree that Ballard is a better player than Alberts and Barker, but not the way he was playing. While he has been solid this year, that was when he was paired with Tanev. Away from Tanev, Ballard has been questionable. That said, I would have liked to see Ballard draw back into the lineup in Calgary, personally.

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      • Brent
        March 5, 2013

        Wow! I am mentioned in TWO COMMENTS! I must be a SOMEBODY! Cool.

        Hope they win tonight to make my day really special.

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      • Jimmy Joe
        March 7, 2013

        Some of Ballard’s mistakes, in his past 2 games before getting benched, are fundamental. He played 2 yrs of Jrs, 2 or 4 yrs at MN, and 7 years or so in the NHL. He knows the game and he knows D. He must be under pressure and it’s like his confidence has crashed. With that said, Ballard DOES make key stops and turnovers at the Caunck blue line, and his gap control is often perfect, while Tanev and Garrison will let the opponent carry deep into the Canuck defensive zone, below the tops of the circle before stepping up, fatal errors from a coaching standpoint. In my opinion, it is quite possible Ballard is doing what the Canuck D coach is telling him. To watch Garrison, Edler, and Tanic sometimes makes me wonder what they are doing playing D when they seem to have no clue in the defensive zone and just bat it out of the zone, for a turnover by their opponent in the neutral zone, only to create another rush into Vancouver’s zone. I feel there is no consistency in the Canucks D, no system, no consistency in pairings. Maybe time to make some changes at the top.

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  6. Fred
    March 5, 2013

    The logic, not the fairness, of why he sits makes perfect sense, but I do agree with others. Other than Hamhuis and Tanev, the others make mistakes quite often but don’t see the same treatment. The coach doesn’t operate within a demcracy however so he can do what he wants. One thing is clear, Ballard has lost his confidence and will likely never get that back as a Canuck.

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    • Chris the Curmudgeon
      March 5, 2013

      That’s not clear at all. Ballard has played mostly well this season, better than he has in his career in Vancouver. Confidence doesn’t just leave and never come back, one or two good games and Ballard will be back to his old hipchecking self again.

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  7. iceman
    March 5, 2013

    While now I understand better why Ballard had to be a odd man out, I also tend to agree with Brent and J21 from the ‘fairness’ point of view. Over the years I have watched Bieksa and Edler making “WTF?” plays in their own zone game after game, but never seen once either of them playing less not to mention being benched. Really, if Ballard deserve to be sitting in the press box for his poor play for the past few games then so do the rest of our defencemen except for Tanev.

    Honestly speaking our defence has been brutal all along this season. The deficiency might have been concealed by brilliant goaltending at the outset, but now in almost every game I see a full of holes in our defensive coverage. Perhaps Ballard made his own way out of the lineup, but he can’t be a scapegoat of the faulty system.

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    • Unknown Comic
      March 5, 2013

      Fairness is for little kid’s sports. These are grown men making a tonne of money based on one goal – win. Vigneault is not going to play guys because it’s fair, he’s going to play guys that he think will win. Bieksa and Edler do and should get favourable treatment because they have been better against tougher competition than Ballard for the past 200 games. Bieksa also plays the right side and Ballard can’t.”Fair” is for Sunday night wallyball cause everyone paid the same. This is pro hockey.

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      • J21 (@Jyrki21)
        March 5, 2013

        The point is not fairness for fairness’ sake. It’s that the rationale applied to one player, for the most part playing well, to take him out of the lineup has zero application to guys who may be hurting the team just as much (I’m not saying this is the case for any specific player, although I think it is arguably true for Bieksa this season). If scratching a guy is really supposed to make him play better, then it should be applied strategically to other guys screwing up too or else an opportunity is being missed.

        Now, I don’t personally believe scratching actually does make players play better (mistakes, by definition, are not intentional – it’s better to coach better habits than to try to make the guy feel bad), but then this is all the more reason to allow Ballard to “play through it” just like everyone else, to get the most out of him.

        I do want to see Alberts rotated into the lineup, but I think all players should be resting from time to time, not just one guy. All this does is make him play with a nervousness and lack of confidence that isn’t helping anyone — neither the team nor himself. No one performs better with the boss breathing down their neck.

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    • Wetcoaster
      March 5, 2013

      I get the impression that AV has a limit for defencemen doing ‘exciting’ things and that Bieksa and Edler essentially use up his entire allowance for risky behaviour from his defence. Since Ballard falls into the same category, he exceeds AV’s appetite for risk.

      The real takeaway from this article seems to be that Tanev is the Swiss Army knife of the D-roster in that he can fill in on any of the other defencement and make his partner better, while Ballard may be handicapped because he’s used to being able to rely on Tanev as a crutch for deficiencies in his (Ballard’s) game, leaving him lost when Tanev isn’t his partner.

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  8. Nick
    March 5, 2013

    I thought the game that Ballard and Garrison were paired together was a strong one for Keith, and also Garrison’s best as a Canuck.

    They’ve played together before in Florida, and that game suggests that they would be a viable, if not strong 3rd pairing.

    That pairing should be given some time to see if it works.

    Ballard has played well with Hamhuis as well … so it oversimplifies things to say that he’s only good with Tanev.

    But I do agree that he’s not a good partner for the 2 mistake-prone D … Bieksa and Edler.

    And I do agree that his leash is amazingly short, relatively to any other guy on the team.

    Coaches are funny that way.

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    • Daniel Wagner
      March 5, 2013

      Ballard has played well with Garrison and Hamhuis, but the issue with pairing him with them is that one of them has to play on their off-side since all three are left-side defencemen. If Ballard can adapt, and I think that if he’s playing with safe, reliable defencemen like Garrison and Hamhuis, he can, then that works. In fact, once Bieksa returns, we might see Garrison and Ballard as the bottom pairing.

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  9. Mt
    March 5, 2013

    Ballard has just had the hockey equivalent of the post-breakup discovery that your friends are really just her/his friends. He seemed to getting out of the doghouse but was only actually liked for his pairing with Tanev.

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  10. akidd
    March 5, 2013

    whew, busy board. one thing i agree with is that tanev is just peachy keen. i think he makes everyone he plays with better defensively and at this juncture it is edler who wins the tanev sweepstakes, largely because what edler lacks in defensive reliability he makes up for in the offensive zone. ballard hasn’t really shown much offensive flair so it doesn’t make sense to gift him with tanev if he’s not giving back on the scoresheet. it seems very probable that an edler/tanev pairing ends up being the top pairing for years to come.

    i think ballard is tradeable and i think that he would do well in another situation under a different coach. lots of teams need d-men so buying him out is unnecessary. booth on the other hand is probably a prime candidate for a buyout unless there is is some sleepy eastern gm who hasn’t seen him in play in the last year or so. booth just doesn’t think the game well and seems to make everyone he plays with worse.

    but i don’t see trading any defensemen, nor goalies, this year, unless of course there’s a deal that’s just too good to pass up(or ballard insists.) all that back-end depth is ultra necessary for any kind of a playoff run. and alberts and barker both looked pretty good i thought. too many good d-men, just like too many good goalies, is not a bad problem to have…at all.

    but ya, that tanev, nice pick-up, eh.

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  11. DMJ
    March 5, 2013

    AV will be gone in less than 3 yrs. He has had a great run and is an excellent coach but everything only lasts so long. His treatment of Ballard and even Hansen for the first few years were brutal. I suppose every coach needs a whipping boy.

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  12. BBoone
    March 7, 2013

    Does anyone think Ballard could be a forward ? Does anyone remember anyone at this stage of their career making such a switch successfully ?
    thanks

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