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.”
May 21, 2013, 1:41 PM EDT
It’s his old team, Dynamo Moscow.
May 21, 2013, 1:38 PM EDT
It’s been two weeks since they were swept by the Sharks.
May 21, 2013, 1:17 PM EDT
He’s “getting closer” to a return, though.
May 21, 2013, 12:44 PM EDT
Boston can take a commanding lead on the Rangers.
May 21, 2013, 12:27 PM EDT
Ray Emery sits…for now.
May 21, 2013, 11:56 AM EDT
The 29-year-old was on the ice for all five Boston goals in Game 2.
May 21, 2013, 11:26 AM EDT
He’s got the Red Wings two wins shy of a huge upset.
May 21, 2013, 11:21 AM EDT
“We’ve got a good home record, but we can’t rest and be comfortable with just being a great home team.”
May 21, 2013, 11:01 AM EDT
He underwent surgery two weeks ago.
May 21, 2013, 10:30 AM EDT
A look at that and the San Jose Sharks’ series against the Los Angeles Kings.
May 21, 2013, 9:49 AM EDT
The Colorado Avalanche’s chief scout doesn’t think there’s a clear favorite.
May 21, 2013, 8:46 AM EDT
But before that the Bruins will try to take a 3-0 series lead on the Rangers.
May 21, 2013, 7:38 AM EDT
“They’re discussing the final details of an arrangement.”
May 21, 2013, 7:15 AM EDT
Tuesday’s collection of links.
May 20, 2013, 11:45 PM EDT
Is that an intentional Sharks pun?
May 20, 2013, 11:22 PM EDT
He thinks it could be a valuable wake-up call.
May 20, 2013, 11:03 PM EDT
At least between Dan Cleary and Bryan Bickell.
May 20, 2013, 10:51 PM EDT
Joel Quenneville said they “hit the wall” after that.
May 20, 2013, 10:36 PM EDT
Tough night for the zebras.
May 20, 2013, 10:23 PM EDT
Finally some adversity for the Blackhawks.
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- Brother says Patrick Roy will be Avs’ head coach 16
- Video: Controversy colors Blackhawks goal, disallowed score 45
- Discuss: Detroit takes 2-1 series lead vs. Chicago 85
- Video: Viktor Stalberg returns after head-first sprawl into boards 2
- Brown, Toews, Alfredsson up for Messier Leadership Award 9
- Playoffs Tonight: Blackhawks look to ‘ramp up our intensity’ vs Red Wings 13
- Report: Patrick Roy a candidate for Avalanche head coaching job 9
- Senators’ OT hero Greening had fiberglass pieces removed from face 4
- Discuss: Senators win Game 3 in double overtime 36
- Alex ‘they wanted Game 7′ Ovechkin to address media today before heading to Worlds (110)
- Question for commenters: What’s the hardest team to support? (95)
- Video: Crosby scores hat trick, hits playoff milestone against Senators (91)
- Discuss: Detroit takes 2-1 series lead vs. Chicago (85)
- Bryzgalov thinks Stalin did a good job, wishes Philadelphia wasn’t so old, and believes poor people don’t want to work (80)
- Grizzlies aim to stem Spurs' momentum
- HBT: Yankees buying share of expansion MLS team
- PHT: Kings searching for killer instinct in Game 4
- PFT: Romo out of OTAs after back surgery
- PFT: NFL want to make Pro Bowl like game show
- PFT: Bucs saw Revis injury as opportunity
- Wings stun Hawks again, take 2-1 series lead
- Play Video: Highlights: Red Wings top Blackhawks in Game 3
- Play Video: Cleary: 'We won't be exchanging Christmas cards'
- Play Video: 'Hawks potential tying goal waved off
- Play Video: Blackhawks score on controversial play
- Play Video: Blackhawks bring the pain
- Play Video: Red Wings and BlackHawks fighting for control