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.”
Oct 23, 2014, 12:35 PM EDT
Postponed in the wake of the Ottawa shootings.
Oct 23, 2014, 12:31 PM EDT
It’s a special teams extravaganza!
Oct 23, 2014, 12:17 PM EDT
Says he was never asked to increase ice time of youngsters returning from injury.
Oct 23, 2014, 12:04 PM EDT
“He’s playing great.”
Oct 23, 2014, 11:50 AM EDT
A court date has been set for Dec. 1.
Oct 23, 2014, 11:38 AM EDT
Probably a figurative slap.
Oct 23, 2014, 10:09 AM EDT
The Islanders defenseman spent six seasons with the Bruins
Oct 23, 2014, 9:32 AM EDT
He’s in the American Hockey League to start 2014-15.
Oct 23, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT
Looks better than one might expect.
Oct 23, 2014, 2:13 AM EDT
Meanwhile, Buffalo scored!
Oct 23, 2014, 1:19 AM EDT
Pretty good chance for three straight.
Oct 23, 2014, 12:23 AM EDT
He was injured on Oct. 16.
Oct 22, 2014, 11:49 PM EDT
No. 8 was having a bit of a difficult night.
Oct 22, 2014, 11:25 PM EDT
Oct 22, 2014, 11:08 PM EDT
Big win for Philly after getting beat bad in Chicago on Tuesday.
Oct 22, 2014, 10:19 PM EDT
Last shift came in the first period.
Oct 22, 2014, 10:13 PM EDT
Oct 22, 2014, 9:48 PM EDT
Little bit of history here.
Oct 22, 2014, 9:19 PM EDT
Milbury doesn’t understand why the Pens would extend him.
Oct 22, 2014, 8:32 PM EDT
Tremendous gesture from the Penguins organization.
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