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Video: Keith Ballard’s hip check ranks as the hit of the 2011 playoffs

May 22, 2011, 5:32 PM EDT

ballardhipcheckgetty Getty Images

If the hip check is a dying art form, then Vancouver Canucks defenseman Keith Ballard created one of the last great masterpieces.

In his first appearance since April 30th, Ballard made a big impression by delivering a wicked hip check on San Jose Sharks forward Jamie McGinn, sending the young player into a near-cartwheel. One must think that the check was especially satisfying for Canucks fans, considering the fact that McGinn’s two Game 3 hits resulted in injuries to defensemen Christian Ehrhoff and Aaron Rome.

Some people (including Mike Milbury) wondered if Ballard should have gotten a clipping penalty for the hit, but considering the mind-numbing festival of penalties that dominated the game’s first 40 minutes, it’s nice that the referees let it go. (Feel free to debate the merits of whether or not it should have been a penalty in the comments, though.)

Watch the video below for what might be the best hit of the playoffs so far.

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  1. stakex - May 22, 2011 at 8:45 PM

    The hit was a bit low, but man… any more penelties in this game and I would have turned it off, so its good that iut wasn’t called.

    The league has ruined hockey with all these damn penelties. Not only did the refs rob the Sharks of this game, but its just flat out boring to watch a playoff game in which players are tenative becasue they don’t want to take a penelty. Go watch playoff hockey from the mid 90’s and then try and tell me that this penelty fest crap is more entertaining……..

    • Truckmounts - May 22, 2011 at 11:08 PM

      Also, learn how to spell, that’s just embarrassing.

    • polegojim - May 23, 2011 at 12:59 AM

      @stakex – Waaaaaaa. Maybe sanjosecupcrazy can pass you a tissue.
      And you guys said the Red Wings fans were whining about penalties???

      McGinn had no intention of playing the puck, and then got suckered and beat at his own game.
      I guess he’s at his best then hitting people from behind and into the boards.

      Seriously though – what a great check. Great hockey play.

  2. Truckmounts - May 22, 2011 at 11:07 PM

    You are a fool, stakex. The Canucks were called for 5 straight penalties before you guys even took one – SJ had 8 shots on 5 pps. That’s called a crappy pp 0/5. When the Canucks had their turn, they scored. That’s what good players do. There isn’t ANYONE questioning the calls that put SJ down 5-3, three times in a row. Too many men, automatic. Shooting puck directly out of rink, automatic. Blatent tripping call that every ref on the ice saw, easy call.

    It’s time the SJ players and fans start pointing the finger inwards, instead of outwards. You only have yourselves to blame for losing this one. 8 shots, 5 pps. Zero goals. End of story.

    • polegojim - May 23, 2011 at 1:12 AM

      Amen – that’s sums it up perfectly!

      The Sharks play with very low emotional aptitude. Instead of digging deep to win, they collapse.

      I don’t think Thornton is a choker. He’s simply a very talented, yet immature leader. The team follows the Captain. Until that’s fixed, they will struggle to ever finish a Stanley Cup season.

      In all seriousnes – Thornton would do very well playing with some seasoned Cup winners who maintain poise and confidence. It would make him the complete player…that he currently is not.

      It takes more than big boys and big hits to win the Cup. It takes mental toughness… which the Canucks are showing in this series.

      The difference between talent and winning is between both ears. The Sharks simply have talent.

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