Free Keith Ballard

Thomas Drance
March 04 2013 03:18PM

Keith Ballard is back in the doghouse following a strong start to the 2013 season.
Andy Marlin/Getty Images North America

For whatever reason, whether it's his relationship with headcoach Alain Vigneault or an inability to fit in with the Canucks' system, Keith Ballard's Vancouver Canucks tenure has been a blackhole. The fleet of foot defenseman with the marvelous hips was acquired prior to the 2010 NHL draft in exchange for Michael Grabner, Steve Bernier and the pick that became Quinton Howden. Since then Keith Ballard has gone from a steady tough-minutes top-four defenseman to a (probably) untradable asset and a likely buyout candidate. It has been a mind-boggling fall from grace, and a borderline inexplicable one.

While Keith Ballard has handled the situation in gamely fashion publicly, it's clear that his latest stint in the pressbox (coming as it did on the heels of a steady first sixteen or so games to start this season) has frustrated the Canucks defenseman. Talking to the folks from News1130, Ballard's agent Ben Hankinson revealed as much on Monday morning, and said that he'd be talking to the Canucks about the situation:

Let's get into it on the other side of the jump.

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Cory Schneider Goes the Extra Mile to Ensure he gets the Start in Marquee Game

Thomas Drance
March 04 2013 11:24AM


In less than two weeks time the Canucks will wear their flashy new Vancouver Millionaires retro threads in a home game against the Detroit Red Wings.  It's the marquee game of the regular season for the Canucks, and there's plenty of speculation in the Vancouver sports market that in addition to sporting their new Millionaires jerseys, the club will also retire Pavel Bure's number 10 at the game.

Well, courtesy Kevin Woodley's informative publication InGoal mag, we now know that Canucks goaltender Cory Schneider really wants to start the game. In putting together a Vancouver Millionaires mask specifically for the occassion he's really dotted his i's and crossed his t's in an effort to get Alain Vigneault's coin to come up tails. 

Read on past the jump.

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Canucks Drop a Gimme in Calgary

Thomas Drance
March 03 2013 11:35PM

Cam Barker made his debut in a Canucks loss to the Flames on Sunday night.
Photo Credit: Gerry Thomas/NHLI via Getty Images

The Canucks barely made it out of Vancouver on Sunday evening in advance of their contest against Calgary. Once the team landed in cowtown, the Canucks had only a couple of hours to transition from the tarmac to the rink. Ultimately they may as well have stayed at home, as they frittered away two points against an overmatched opponent playing in front of an AHL goaltender...

There's context here of course. Vancouver was coming off of an emotional home win over the Los Angeles Kings the night before and it's no surprise that they put in a bit of a flat effort in the second game of a travelling back-to-back. Still, Vancouver started strong and ran out of gas late and fell behind for good on a goal that immediately followed a goofy "bench minor" penalty charged against Alain Vigneault in the third.  It was an appropriate way for a listless, frustrating game to end.

Read on past the jump for more analysis.

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Game 21 Preview: Canucks @ Flames

Thomas Drance
March 03 2013 05:12PM

"Aww come on, really? No snow day?!!!"
Photo Credit: @sportsnetmurph

I think it's fair to assume that the Canucks watched the weather (and airport) reports out of Calgary this afternoon with the intent, hopeful interest of a child crossing their fingers and hoping for a snow day. Due to a severe snow storm that has battered Calgary for the past couple of days, the airport was closed (partly because the runway lights were malfunctioning) and the Canucks had a hell of a time getting into town. In fact, for a couple of hours there it looked like tonight's game might be cancelled or postponed. Ultimately the Canucks managed to land in cowtown, and will face a quick transition as they rush to the rink, get a game day skate in and prepare to battle a Flames team they've historically dominated.

With a hectic travel schedule and coming off of an emotional victory last night against the Kings, the Canucks could struggle to find their legs in this one. On the other hand, the Flames will start Danny Taylor in net so yeah...

Read on past the jump for a (not very) thorough preview.

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Gillis says he knew that Ryan O'Reilly would've had to clear waivers

Thomas Drance
March 03 2013 04:36PM

Did Canucks management really know that rule 13.23 would apply to O'Reilly?
Photo Credit: Our pal (and fancy-beard analyst) @thestanchion.

Following the Canucks' emotional 5-2 victory over the defending Stanley Cup champions on Saturday night, General Manager Mike Gillis appeared on CBC's After Hours segment with Todd Simpson and Scott Oake. The three covered a fair bit of ground in the interview: talking @strombone1, the two bluechip netminders in goalie-ville, Gillis' decision to shut Manny Malhotra down, and tacked on briefly at the end of the segment, they chatted Ryan O'Reilly.

For those of you who've spent this week in solitary confinement, Ryan O'Reilly was signed to an offer sheet by the Calgary Flames earlier this week and the Colorado Avalanche quickly matched the two-year pact. Had the Avalanche decided against matching the O'Reilly offer sheet, they would've recieved a first and a third round pick from the Flames and also Calgary would've had to put O'Reilly on waivers before he could play in their lineup. The reason? O'Reilly played a couple of games in the KHL past the January 19th deadline and was thus subject to CBA rule 13.23.

So do we buy that Mike Gillis was aware of this rule and a step ahead of Feaster on this? Read on past the jump.

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