Loss of Ballard, Raymond, means Canuck fans need a new default trade package

As expected, on Thursday, the Vancouver Canucks finalized the process of buying out defenceman Keith Ballard. Scheduled to make $4.2 million for each of the next two years, the Minnesota-born blueliner will instead be paid $5.6 million to go away.

I am also willing to be paid that much to not work in Vancouver. Let this be known to foes wherever you may be. Hate this blog and the nonsense written therein? You can shut the whole operation down for the paltry sum of $5.6 million. Same goes for you, Vancouver Sun. We’ve heard tale of buyouts. We’ll take it, provided it’s $5.6 million.

We’ll quit for real, too. We won’t pull a Ballard and sign with Minnesota, as the jettisoned defenceman did later the same day.

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Spitballin’ on Kassian’s favourite snack, Ballard’s patience, and Booth’s new Twitter account

Spitballin’ (or Super Pass It To Bulis: All In, if you love adventurous acronymizing) is a feature that allows us to touch on a multitude of things really fast, because in the world of hockey, there are always lots of things to find and colour. Here are a few quick topics.

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Examining the Canuck winners and losers of the 2013 trade deadline

It wasn’t a terrible NHL trade deadline for the Canucks. After all, they acquired Derek Roy, a skilled player that adds a very important element to their attack: a centre. They really haven’t had one of those all season.

Still, the 2013 trade deadline won’t be remembered in this city for what Mike Gillis did — it will be remembered for what he didn’t do. A big part of that is because he acquired Roy the day before the deadline, which is like giving a child a present on Christmas Eve. It’s exciting, but there had damn well better be something else under the tree on Christmas. But a bigger part is because Roberto Luongo wasn’t traded, leading to the the most indelible moment of the deadline, when Luongo told the world he had a sucky contract. That’ll stay with us, just like Luongo will.

All of this in mind, let’s take a look at the winners and losers of the deadline from a Vancouver perspective.

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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.

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Spitballin’ on Keith Ballard’s acting ability, infinite Sedins, and Frankie goes to camp

Spitballin’ (or Super Pass It To Bulis: All In, if you love adventurous acronymizing) is a feature that allows us to touch on a multitude of things really fast, because in the world of hockey, there are always lots of things to find and colour. Here are a few topics that deserve mention.

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Kevin Bieksa gets a ticket, and other great moments in Canucks automotive history

In case you haven’t heard, the NHL collective bargaining agreement expired at 9pm PST on Saturday night, meaning the second work stoppage in seven years is officially upon us. (Alert status: complete despair.) No games have been canceled yet, but the lockout is already beginning to affect things. On Monday, a handful of Canucks skated at UBC with their practice jerseys turned inside-out. After all, they aren’t employees of the Canucks right now. Horrifying.

And that wasn’t the only tangible impact the lockout had on the Canucks’ unemployed hockey players. With no training staff around to keep an eye on the clock, Kevin Bieksa’s parking meter expired. He returned to his car to discover he’d been busted by officer 300, the Judge Dredd of parking services officers. Bieksa now has until the end of the month to pay the $30 ticket before it doubles to $60. Will this wreak havoc on his lockout preparation fund?

Yeah, he can probably afford it, which means there isn’t much of a story here. It’s a shame his violation was 11b (expired meter), and not, say, violation 13g (nuisance) or violation 7k (counterfeit pass). I mean, that would have at least made things interesting.

But what we lack in one quality parking story we can more than make up for in quantity. This is, after all, just the latest in a long line of parking incidents for members of the Vancouver Canucks. Come with us as we park multiple times on memory lane.

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Every Goal, 2011-12: The one-goal guys

Today in the every goal series, we take a moment to appreciate the guys who only scored one goal in a Canucks’ uniform in 2011-12.

This is a really strange collection of names, if you think about it, and I think it underscores what a strange year last year was. In 2010-11, most of the one-goal guys were the sorts of guys you’d expect: stay-at-home defencemen (Andrew Alberts) and fourth line call-ups (Mario Bliznak). But in 2011-12, the one-goal guys were Keith Ballard, Mikael Samuelsson, Byron Bitz, Aaron Volpatti, Marc-Andre Gragnani, and Zack Kassian. No one could have predicted that group, either because more was expected of them or because they weren’t expected to end the year here.

But not everybody you see below is unexpected. The Sedins are in almost every clip, to the surprise of no one.

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Canucks’ best shot blocker is heading to the press box

The Canucks announced some great news today: Aaron Rome will be back in the lineup against the St. Louis Blues after missing 12 games with a broken thumb. With Sami Salo still out with a concussion, Rome’s return alleviates some of the concerns regarding the Canucks defensive depth.

Here’s the odd thing: he won’t be replacing Alex Sulzer, who would seem to be the obvious choice. Instead, he’s replacing Keith Ballard.

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Vancouver fans are flying high after last night’s 6-2 shellacking of the hated (and objectively evil) Chicago Blackhawks, and understandably so. While the Canucks have alternated hot or cold like they’ve been treating a sinus headache (or stimulating a nipple) for the first month and a half of the season, they put in a hot sixty minutes in Chicago, where cold performances are infuriating and common.

Still, while almost everything was coming up roses for the Canucks, it’s tough to miss that, in a 6-2 win, former Floridians David Booth and Keith Ballard both somehow managed to finish at minus-2.

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In light of the Canucks’ disastrous trip to Boston, we expect some significant line-up tweaks from the occasionally esteemed Coach Vigneault. During the last Canucks’ meltdown (the first round near suicide swoon against Chicago), we threw out some ideas for roster changes (see our April 23rd posting where we recommended reuniting Ryan Kesler and Alex [...]

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Clearly, there is no easy path to the glory.  And if there is, the Canucks mostly refuse to follow it.  And when they do, they get dragged into the alley. Yes, there is plenty wrong in Canuck land right now.  Roberto Luongo seems incapable of making a big save to bail out a team that [...]

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Tomas Kaberle and Keith Ballard have a lot in common. Both players spent the post-lockout years playing for non-playoff teams. Both have represented their countries in International play. Both were traded to their current teams for a package including a top prospect and a first round pick. Both have failed to meet expectations with their new teams. And both are in the Stanley Cup Final.

Of course, one of the main differences between the two is that Kaberle will definitely play at least one game against the Canucks, while Ballard might watch all of the games from the press box with the Black Aces. Since no one has come out on record saying he hasn’t wagered away his spot on the Stanley Cup in a rigged game of poker with Eddie Lack, we’re forced to assume he has.

So which of the two has been more disappointing? Who has come shortest of meeting expectations?

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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.

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