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Keith Ballard sidelined indefinitely for Canucks

Feb 17, 2012, 7:14 PM EDT

Keith Ballard

Vancouver Canucks defenseman Keith Ballard is out indefinitely with what coach Alain Vigneault calls “upper-body symptoms.”

Vigneault said last week that Ballard, who hasn’t played since Feb. 7, has been having “neck issues,” but the team wasn’t “sure what it is.”

And while we’d never, ever accuse the Canucks of finding, ahem, creative ways to get under the salary cap…

Via The Province:

Vigneault said Ballard will not be joining the team on its upcoming six-game road trip. Maybe that could change but the coach was adamant he wasn’t going. That suggests the next game Ballard could possibly play is March 1.

That, of course, would mean he won’t see game action again until after the trade deadline, which, conveniently means he can be put on the Long Term Injury List. And that’s a move which could give the Canucks some salary cap breathing room.

You might recall last season when injuries to key Vancouver defensemen allowed the Canucks to not only keep Kevin Bieksa (thanks to an offseason injury to Sami Salo) but also acquire Chris Higgins and Maxim Lapierre at the deadline (thanks to Alex Edler‘s back surgery in January).

Ballard’s cap hit is $4.2 million.

  1. hsnepts - Feb 17, 2012 at 7:53 PM

    What was that Keith? Your headaches have gone away? *whack* How about now? Ah, that’s better. I’ll call the doctor.

  2. kitshky - Feb 17, 2012 at 7:54 PM

    Tru, but it also take him off the trade market, and pretty much every trade scenario we idiots come up with involves him…

  3. hsnepts - Feb 17, 2012 at 8:06 PM

    He can get better in time for a trade. “turns out that whole head/neck thing was just a splinter! silly doctors!”

    honestly i think many teams have some players that they want to move. I dont see why we cant just swap 1-1. at least give the players a change of scenery, and its not like there’s much of a downside.

    is there any other decent yet underachieving 4m defencemen that dont get along with their coach?

    maybe a soft&fast 10-15 goal right winger in their mid 20s who can kill penalties? anyone?

    • jrmehle - Feb 17, 2012 at 9:11 PM

      Look no further than the NW division. Marek Zidlicky’s salary is $4M, he’s way under-achieving this year, and is in the middle of a stand-off with coach Yeo. So, how about it Vancouver? Zidlicky for Ballard straight up?

  4. loinstache - Feb 17, 2012 at 10:31 PM

    It would be a snaky move, but I could buy it; Gillis has already shown that he is willing to exploit loopholes. Ballard isn’t going anywhere, so we essentially get the best of both worlds. Access to a flaky defenceman who we can still move in the future, and new talent that gets a try out in the system. Ballard has already been a healthy scratch a few times this year (and of course during the SCF), so it’s not like this is a team hinging on his presence. If we can grab new blood while having him in the bank? All the better.

  5. jdubs21 - Feb 18, 2012 at 12:16 PM

    I for one am just disappointed that he’s probably not going to be traded now. Ballard just hasn’t clicked in Vancouver and would like to see him elsewhere. Like dating a pretty girl that you don’t click with, time to find someone new that would fit better.

    As for a sneaky move by Gillis, I don’t think so at all (unless he’s not really that injured). This type of situation is exactly why the owners/GM’s put it in the CBA. It’s not as snaky as having a 15 year contract for a 28 year old player (just to lessen the per year cap hit).

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