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Canucks’ Ballard back against Sharks

Mar 5, 2013, 4:11 PM EDT

Keith Ballard

Keith Ballard will get a chance to redeem himself tonight against San Jose, as the Canucks’ defenseman will be back in the lineup after sitting out two straight games as a healthy scratch.

Ballard will take the spot of Andrew Alberts, joining Cam Barker — who made his season debut Sunday against Calgary — on the team’s third pairing.

For Ballard, it’s just the latest bit of adversity he’s faced during his time in Vancouver. It was reported yesterday that Ballard’s agent would be calling the Canucks about his frustrated client. The 30-year-old is signed through 2014-15 with a cap hit of $4.2 million.

Less than a month ago, Ballard was being lauded by the coaching staff for his improved play. But head coach Alain Vigneault said today that the defenseman hasn’t been good enough lately — an assessment Ballard didn’t deny.

“I look back at my last couple of games and I didn’t play well,” Ballard said. “The situation I’m in, the role I’m in, it’s up to me to make the best of it. I think before that I was playing real solid, but it’s game-to-game and whether or not I like that, it doesn’t matter.”

In other club news, defenseman Kevin Bieksa is still day-to-day with a groin injury and will miss his fourth game in Vancouver’s last five outings.

Cory Schneider will start in goal against the Sharks.

Finally, assistant GM Lorne Henning confirmed to The Province that the Canucks are attempting to secure a spot for top prospect Nicklas Jensen with its AHL affiliate in Chicago.

  1. loinstache - Mar 5, 2013 at 4:42 PM

    Ive been hard on Ballard over the years but wow really have to question Alberts and then Barker getting the nod, especially after how Alberts has played. AV so obviously plays to favourites while keeping some perpetually in the dog house.

    • loinstache - Mar 5, 2013 at 4:44 PM

      “aaarrrooon roooommee where are youuuu”

    • davebabychreturns - Mar 5, 2013 at 4:52 PM

      This team can’t go a year without needing 9 or more defensemen – seriously, look back at the last decade, 9 is the best case scenario and the worst is more like 13 – so at some point they are going to have to figure out what the 7th and 8th guys have to offer.

      Alberts has been perennially mediocre here and Barker is a complete unknown at this point, so if the team is going to need to bring someone in at the deadline they’d better determine that soon.

      As for Ballard.. the fact is that he’s the 6th most important of the team’s regular defenders. If he shot right or could comfortably play on that side it would be a different story, but when it comes time for someone to sit he’s going to find himself under the microscope.

      (Although yeah, sitting him in favour of both Alberts and Barker.. ouch.)

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