Mar 25, 2013, 3:08 PM EDT
Could the San Jose Sharks and Vancouver Canucks be onto something?
Much like the Burns move, it’s working.
“I love it,” Ballard told the Vancouver Sun. “It’s fun, it’s just different, right. It’s a different challenge. You’ve got a bit different responsibility. I don’t know how long it’s for, but I am fine with it.”
What was supposed to be a one-time thing — Ballard debuted at forward against Phoenix on Thursday before returning to play D against LA on Saturday — might turn into something much more.
Sunday’s game in Colorado marked Ballard’s second game as a winger and he responded with arguably his finest performance of the season, registering an assist, four shots on goal and a team-high three hits in 12:48 of ice time.
Since making the move up front on Mar. 12, Burns has scored six points in six games for the Sharks and, even when not scoring, has managed to be an effective player.
He’s been pointless over the last two games, but still recorded nine shots on goal and three hits.
As for Ballard, the biggest plus from this experiment might be earned praise from Vancouver head coach Alain Vigneault, who hasn’t always been the biggest Ballard fan.
Vigneault offered a rave review following Sunday’s win.
“That line with Burr, Andrew and Keith was real good all night,” Vigneault said. “[Ballard's] a team guy, being versatile is a big plus for a player and he is able to play left wing.
“He did it two games and he did it real well for us in real tough environments and we’re really pleased with what he brought to the table.”
Note: Ballard’s time up front could be extended, as reports out of Vancouver say checking winger Dale Weise could be out for a while with a shoulder injury.
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