Keith Ballard thinks Luongo is a table, while Vigneault thinks Ballard is a towel.
This is a weekly feature that will highlight The Good, The Bad and The *fill in the blank* exciting things that are currently happening in the NHL. Will a Bruin and a Canuck play on the same All Star team? Will Pierre Gauthier make a hasty, emotional decision before the trade deadline? Will Sidney Crosby ever play hockey again? Hockey: sports would be boring with it.
The Good: Keith Ballard
I have nightmares sometimes in which Keith Ballard does not make it past the trade deadline still wearing a Canucks jersey. At $4.2 million dollars a year, he should be a superstar on the Canucks blueline. Vancouver should not panic at the recent loss of Sami Salo. It should not matter if Andrew Alberts, Aaron Rome or Alex Sulzer are on the ice or on the bench – Ballard should be able to play effectively with anyone of them, and be like a god on skates gliding across the ice with speed and efficiency. He should sell more jerseys than Ryan Kesler and the Sedins combined. Ok, scratch that last part … there is no way he’d sell more than Kesler.
Personally, I really like Ballard. He especially impressed me on Tuesday night, in the game against the LA Kings, when he dropped the gloves and fought with Colin Fraser. I sat on the edge of my seat, beer in hand being entertained by this:
My favorite part is that before throwing a punch, he gives Fraser a hug. Good on you Keith. Maybe Dale Weise can learn a thing or two from you.
Another fascinating fact about Keith Ballard – the guy is hilarious:
I watch this video every time I need to laugh. And after every game the Canucks lose. I have watched it a lot this week.
The Bad:Subpar Performances
The Canucks losing their last two games, against the Kings on Tuesday and the Ducks on Sunday, really stings. Obviously I always want my team to win, however, if they are going to lose, could they at least make it a game where some effort, and an attempt to win is displayed?
Both of these California teams have had their fair share of struggles this season so you would think that the Canucks offense could use their opponents’ weaknesses against them and terrorize them with formidable skill. Or that the defense could at least be coordinated enough to shut down the scoring chances instead of throwing all the burden on Luongo. Is that so much to ask for?
It’s not that the Canucks lost that bothers me; it’s that they didn’t play at the level they are capable of for two straight games. Given that we are into the second half of the season, I am hoping this is just a temporary slump.
Despite the Canucks losing a second time to the Kings since December 31, the best Canucks player on the ice Tuesday night was Roberto Luongo. He stopped 39 of 41 shots, 38 of 39 at even strength, and 15 of 16 that were scoring chances (thanks for the stats, Cam). Unfortunately for Luongo, this game went to a shootout where he was only able to stop one of the three shooters, and the Canucks were only able to score once.
And The Hockey Reality Stars…
If there is one thing that Kevin Bieksa interviews, and HBO’s 24/7 showed us, it’s that there are some really funny players in the NHL. Charming personalities, sharp wits and comedic timing all provide entertaining content, especially when it is unexpected. There are also a lot of intense hockey players that possess the qualities that reality show producers salivate at in hopes for a chance to exploit. A reality TV show specifically about NHL hockey players … hmm. Can this happen? If so, guess who I would love to see have their own show:
Ryan Miller. Drama and badass ‘characters’ is what gets good ratings on reality TV, and I love Ryan Miller. I think he is a talented and accomplished goalie with lots of charm. Or at least he had that before Milan Lucic ran him over and made him angry with the world.
None of his teammates stood up for Ryan Miller after that hit, not that I blame them because Lucic could murder someone with one hand and because he is Lucic, he’d get away with it. That incident changed Ryan Miller and it makes him the perfect candidate to have his own show. He would probably be livelier than those insane women from the New Jersey version of The Real Housewives and would probably get more female viewers than the current Bachelor. He could invite Ilya Bryzgalov over and the two of them could talk about the Universe. Or plot revenge against Lucic…
If nothing else, it would give him a platform to express how he really feels and give us a better taste of what it’s like to be an NHL star who has seemingly lost it. I would watch it. With a big bowl of popcorn. Dear TV gods: please make this happen.