The Canucks were in playoff form Thursday. How do I know? Because this game bore an eerie resemblance to a playoff game from last June. Let me break it down for you:
After two tough losses on the road, the Canucks came home looking to bounce back. The game was tight, with very little room for error, and the NHL’s top two teams entered the third period locked in a 0-0 tie. The contest appeared headed for overtime until, midway through the third, one of the Canucks’ point men put a shot just wide of the net. It popped off the boards and right onto the stick of a French winger that nobody likes, and he was able to jam the puck inside the post just before the goaltender could get across. Immediately after doing so, he scrambled to the boards to celebrate the game-winner with his linemates while Rogers Arena went nuts.
Yeah. Tonight’s game was effectively a shot-for-shot remake of Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final. I remember it clear as day, because I, like many of you, watched that game. And then I watched this game.Continue Reading —›
Poor Keith Ballard. Mike Gillis made a big splash in acquiring Ballard at the NHL Entry Draft last summer, paying the steep price of a first round draft pick, Calder candidate Michael Grabner, and Steve Bernier. He and Dan Hamhuis were meant to shore up the defense and allow for the trade of the ill-favored Kevin Bieksa. Ballard was meant to play a big role in the revamped top-four. Instead, Salo got injured, Bieksa stuck around, and Ballard found himself on the third-pairing averaging 16 minutes per game.
Poor Keith Ballard. His first chance to play in the NHL Playoffs and his skates barely touch the ice, averaging 12-and-a-half minutes per game and finding himself in the pressbox for games 5 and 6 in favor of journeymen Aaron Rome and Andrew Alberts. It seemed that the only reason he found himself back on the ice for game 7 was yet another mysterious Sami Salo injury.
Poor Keith Ballard. The Canucks’ playoff record this season with Keith Ballard in the lineup is 4-1. Without Ballard in the lineup: 0-2. And yet, he can’t seem to find his way into Alain Vigneault’s good books.Continue Reading —›
“For me, my only experience is as a spectator” – Keith Ballard, April 12, 2011Continue Reading —›