Feb 7, 2013, 5:32 PM EDT
Today, in that same paper, he’s “finally the player he needs to be for the Canucks.”
Amazing how quickly things change in that city.
Granted, the player Ballard “needs to be” isn’t exactly a great player. According to the Sun, it’s merely a “steady National Hockey League defenseman.”
Since the trade that brought him to Vancouver on June 25, 2010, for a package that included Michael Grabner and a first-round pick that turned into Quinton Howden, the word “steady” would definitely not be used to describe Ballard’s performance.
“Part of the problem is I just was never really sure what I was supposed to do,” he said Wednesday.
“I spent so much time last year on the mental side of things, working with a sports psychologist, because until I came here I never had any adversity in hockey. Going back to five years old, I just went out and played and didn’t worry about anything.”
Before coming to the Canucks, Ballard had played for two NHL teams, Florida and Phoenix. Suffice to say it was easier to fly under the radar in those markets than in Vancouver.
Ballard is still overpaid as a third-pairing defenseman with no points in nine games — the 30-year-old is signed through 2014-15 with a cap hit of $4.2 million.
But his improved play hasn’t gone unrecognized by the coaching staff.
“What he has stopped doing is chasing the game all over the ice,” Canucks associate coach Rick Bowness said. “So now the game comes to him and he’s in control.”
Mar 12, 2014, 2:29 PM EDT
Just one blogger’s opinion.
Mar 12, 2014, 2:09 PM EDT
Led R.P.I in scoring this season.
Mar 12, 2014, 1:43 PM EDT
Austrian speedster hurt in Monday’s comeback win over Vancouver.
Mar 12, 2014, 1:14 PM EDT
Montreal’s beaten Boston five straight times.
Mar 12, 2014, 12:27 PM EDT
The full interview airs on Costas Tonight this Thursday, Mar. 13 at 12:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN.
Mar 12, 2014, 12:18 PM EDT
i.e., do Pierre Karl Peladeau’s political aspirations hurt the chances of the Nordiques being reborn in Quebec City?
Mar 12, 2014, 11:43 AM EDT
“I am not going to comment on specific things about John. It is unfair to him.”
Mar 12, 2014, 11:18 AM EDT
How has Colorado done it?
Mar 12, 2014, 11:00 AM EDT
Now the man in charge of Southampton F.C.
Mar 12, 2014, 10:36 AM EDT
The feat comes during one of the toughest stretches of his career, though.
Mar 12, 2014, 10:03 AM EDT
He was injured against Florida on Sunday.
Mar 12, 2014, 9:28 AM EDT
The Habs have five straight wins against Boston.
Mar 12, 2014, 8:15 AM EDT
That and the rest of the links to start your day ahead.
Mar 12, 2014, 1:21 AM EDT
He received a minor penalty for the hit.
Mar 12, 2014, 1:04 AM EDT
JVR seems OK, though.
Mar 11, 2014, 11:48 PM EDT
Dallas moves into the second wild card spot for now.
Mar 11, 2014, 11:26 PM EDT
The San Jose Sharks aren’t happy about their game, either.
Mar 11, 2014, 10:52 PM EDT
And an interesting one overall for the East.
Mar 11, 2014, 10:25 PM EDT
Another memorable save for the icon.
Mar 11, 2014, 10:07 PM EDT
That’s eight in a row for Pittsburgh between these two teams.
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