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 6, 2015, 8:32 PM EDT
Two chances that barely missed.
May 6, 2015, 7:42 PM EDT
Tampa Bay grabs a 1-0 lead in Game 3.
May 6, 2015, 6:58 PM EDT
Things haven’t come easily for the high-end prospect.
May 6, 2015, 6:45 PM EDT
Chosen by the National Hockey League Broadcasters’ Association.
May 6, 2015, 6:14 PM EDT
Watch on TV and online.
May 6, 2015, 5:30 PM EDT
Czech netminder has appeared in 27 games for Nashville over the last two seasons.
May 6, 2015, 4:39 PM EDT
Sweden led 3-0 at one point.
May 6, 2015, 3:56 PM EDT
Scored 63 goals and 118 points this year for Portland.
May 6, 2015, 3:00 PM EDT
“It’s like a horse race — you can’t stand ten feet ahead of the finish line and determine who won a close race.”
May 6, 2015, 2:30 PM EDT
Had 89 points in 55 games.
May 6, 2015, 2:26 PM EDT
Yet the Wild coach is now staring it in the face.
May 6, 2015, 1:41 PM EDT
Teams will meet tonight and again tomorrow in Tampa Bay.
May 6, 2015, 12:54 PM EDT
“I’m still in between and weighing the options.”
May 6, 2015, 12:35 PM EDT
Calgary’s Bob Hartley is considered the favorite.
May 6, 2015, 11:59 AM EDT
Recently won a KHL championship.
May 6, 2015, 11:25 AM EDT
Reports now suggest Toronto’s interested.
May 6, 2015, 11:13 AM EDT
Deposition slated for no earlier than July.
May 6, 2015, 11:01 AM EDT
Fifth-round pick in 2011 spent all of this year in AHL Bridgeport.
May 6, 2015, 10:46 AM EDT
The same club that finished first in the league standings this year.
May 6, 2015, 10:01 AM EDT
They’ve certainly had more success in them in the 2015 playoffs.
- 2015 Jack Adams Award finalists: Hartley, Laviolette, Vigneault 5
- WATCH LIVE: Tonight’s Stanley Cup Playoff action 0
- Canada fights back to beat Sweden at worlds 14
- NHL hockey ops explains no-goal call 41
- Jack Adams Award finalists to be announced tonight 4
- Video: Flames stun Ducks in OT to get back in the series 10
- Video: Controversial no-goal call on Flames 15
- Video: Crawford, Kane help Blackhawks push Wild to brink of elimination 53
- WATCH LIVE: Tonight’s Stanley Cup Playoff action 1
- Prust apologizes for all the stuff he said about referee Watson 49
- Vigneault: ‘Standards have been set’ after Ovechkin, Backstrom hits (103)
- ‘You can’t win,’ ex-NHL ref Fraser says of Prust incident (83)
- New York second: Capitals stun Rangers for 1-0 series lead (76)
- Red Wings’ Devellano calls Mantha ‘very, very, very disappointing’ (66)
- Lundqvist thinks Backstrom’s hit caused Rangers to lose focus before game-winning goal (63)