Tag:Keith Ballard
Posted on: February 1, 2012 3:31 pm
Edited on: February 1, 2012 3:41 pm
 

Video: Radulov smacks his own coach with stick

By Brian Stubits

Remember Alex Radulov, the Russian forward who was drafted by and played two seasons for the Nashville Predators, including his sophomore campaign when he scored 26 goals and had 32 assists for the Preds back in 2007-08?

In case you were wondering, he's been plying his trade back in the KHL since then, and doing it very well. Last season he had 80 points in 54 games for his Salavat Yulayev Ufa team.

So you would think he has some pretty good handling, right? I mean a guy who 60 assists in 54 games must be good with the stick.

Ummm ...

What was that all about? Apparently angry, it sure seemed as though Radulov checked his back before doing anything then unleashing a whip backward and slashing one of his team's coaches in the process.

I'm just having a little fun here, it seems (relatively) clear that it was an accident when he hit the coach, signified by his quick apologetic wave and reciprocation from the coach. But what exactly was the intent?

Reminds me a bit of the friendly fire from a couple of seasons ago when Keith Ballard took a swing at his own goal post and knocking his goalie Tomas Vokoun upside the head at the same time.

H/t to Pavel Lysenkov

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: December 15, 2011 10:17 pm
Edited on: December 15, 2011 10:18 pm
 

Cam Ward's glove save robs Keith Ballard (Video)



By: Adam Gretz

The highlight of Carolina's impressive come-from-behind 4-3 win over the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday night was the diving, desperation glove save by Cam Ward with six minutes to play in regulation (which you can see above), robbing defenseman Keith Ballard from right in front of the net, and in the process tossing his name into the "save of the year" discussion.

Honestly, everything about that play was amazing. Had Ward not been there to make the save, it still would have been a play for highlight reels on the Vancouver side thanks to Mason Raymond's incredible individual effort to deke his way through the offensive zone and set up Ballard. Ward stopped 33 shots on the night, and that was definitely his best.

The Hurricanes fell behind 2-0 in the first period, but rallied with four consecutive goals, including a pair from Drayson Bowman, and the eventual game-winner from Jaroslav Spacek, the defenseman that was recently acquired from the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for Tomas Kaberle.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.

Posted on: November 9, 2011 12:01 pm
Edited on: November 9, 2011 2:22 pm
 

Flyers extend Braydon Coburn for four years, $18M

By Brian Stubits

The Philadelphia Flyers have signed another one of their young players to an extension, reportedly agreeing with Braydon Coburn to a new four-year deal worth $18 million. This according to Tim Panaccio of CSN Philadelphia.

So if those figures are facts, that would be $4.5 million annually to Coburn, a solid young defenseman. He logs a lot of minutes and really has potential to be a shutdown defenseman for many years.

Offensively speaking, he does not produce much in the way of points at all. Now in his seventh season in the league, the 26-year-old has 26 career goals. This season his only points to speak of are three assists.

It sort of makes you recoil at first, doesn't it? It seems to be along the lines of GM Paul Holmgren's contract with James van Riemsdyk he signed a short while ago, giving the up-and-comer a six-year contract for $25.5 million. It seemed -- and still does -- like an awfully generous contract from Holmgren to his player. Compared to similar players in age like Logan Couture, whose most recent deal pays him $2.875 million per season.

But considering that Coburn was making $3.2 million annually on his existing deal and was scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent this summer, you see perhaps where Holmgren was coming from. Obviously he had to up the ante a touch if he wanted to lock Coburn in and take away the player's ability to test the open market.

Then you realize when you start to play the contemporary game with Coburn that a guy like Keith Ballard is making $4.2 million with the Canucks and Mike Komisarek $4.5 million with the Maple Leafs. It makes the matter just that much easier to digest.

Really, the rate for shutdown defensemen is going up by the year. Of course, you could probably say that about every position except the enforcer, but the point stands. Guys who are strong in their own end are valued players, Coburn would have likely received a contract similar to this in salary as a free agent.

Of course it means that Philly will again be working under a cap crunch this offseason, especially if the cap comes down in the next CBA.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.
Posted on: October 24, 2011 6:03 pm
 

David Booth meets Vancouver media, talks trade

By Brian Stubits

David Booth met the Vancouver media for the first time since his surprising trade to the Canucks on Saturday. Let's just say it was a far cry from an attention standpoint than any interview he did in Florida.

“No, maybe for the Miami Dolphins, but not for the Florida Panthers," Booth joked.

Much was made over the weekend about Booth reportedly shedding some tears when he was told of the news. Inevitably, the jokes about tears of joy for leaving Florida poured in, but Booth explained why it was so tough for him to hear he was leaving Florida.

"It was an emotional time for me," Booth said. "I live with my brother down in Florida and it's hard to leave him. He's one year younger than me and I grew up my whole life with him.

"It was tough to say goodbye and it is going to be tough for a while.

"I am very close to my family. My dad was down there, too, for the weekend and I'm glad he was. It was good to see him. I have another brother and I am very close with him. My little sister is 16 and a hockey player and she wears No. 7. That's why I chose to be No. 7."

One thing that will help him adapt will be some familiar faces in Vancouver, particularly those who he'll be sharing a line with. Booth goes way back with Ryan Kesler as the two played together growing up in the Detroit area. The other member of his line, Chris Higgins, spent time with the Panthers last season before he, too, was traded to Vancouver. Add in Byron Bitz, Alexander Sulzer and Keith Ballard -- all of whom had stints in Florida recently -- and Booth rightfully joked that if he began the season in Vancouver, he probably would have known more teammates there than in Florida.

As for why he thought he was traded from Florida, where he seemed to be a franchise cornerstone?

“I know they’re turning around the organization. It takes some time. [GM Dale Tallon] has his way of doing things and I wasn’t part of it. That’s all right. You can’t please everybody. ... There are 28 other teams I could’ve went to. I’m glad I came here."

For those counting at home, that leaves Stephen Weiss as the only player who played significant time with the Panthers during the 2008-09 season.

Booth is scheduled to make his debut with the Canucks on Tuesday night in Edmonton.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: October 11, 2011 4:45 pm
Edited on: October 12, 2011 2:54 pm
 

Canucks D Keith Ballard really likes his dog

By Brian Stubits

From the lighter side of sports spectrum:

When you think of hockey players and dogs, it's only natural to assume they typically own labs, retrievers or other big, outdoor dogs. Not Keith Ballard.

The Canucks defenseman is the proud owner of a 14-pound shih tzu named George. As he points out to the interviewer above, George is "all man" at 14 pounds. After all, his fur is camoflauge. Oh, and like any dog should be, he stays on a leash, not in a bag or purse.

I think the part that gets me the most is when Ballard is asked if he has any pictures of George handy, to which the answer is yes. But he refuses to show them as he doesn't want people coming up to George on the streets. He needs his privacy.

I'm starting to think that when this hockey thing is done, Ballard might have another line of work to pursue. Minus the one little crack in the middle, he is stone-faced comic here.

Now send the man some Pupperoni.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: September 17, 2011 4:23 pm
 

Canucks will look to Edler to replace Ehrhoff

Edler1

By: Adam Gretz

Over the past two seasons no defenseman on the Vancouver Canucks roster provided more offense than Christian Ehrhoff's 28 goals and 66 assists.

The veteran defenseman moved on this summer, signing a lucrative -- some might say outrageous -- contract with the Buffalo Sabres that will make him one of the highest paid players in the NHL this season with a salary of $10 million. The contract carries an average annual salary of $4 million, which isn't all that bad for a player that produces like he has -- until you remember that it runs for 10 seasons and Ehrhoff will be 39 when it expires.

Still, Ehrhoff has proven to be a productive player and one of Vancouver's top defenseman, and such production from the blue line would seem to be difficult to replace. Captain Henrik Sedin has an interesting perspective on Ehrhoff's absence and how the team will work to replace him.

From Brad Ziemer of the Vancouver Sun:
“He was in a spot where I think we have other guys who can step up and play in that role,” Sedin said, clearly referring to Ehrhoff’s power-play time. “Alex [Edler] is going to get more responsibility and we have a healthy Sami Salo now, and we have some other guys who are going to play a few more minutes.

“I think on the back end we were deep last year and we are deep this year. So I don’t think we should lose too much.”

A large percentage of Ehrhoff's point production came on the power play the past two seasons, while the Canucks put him in situations where, more often than not, he was starting a shift in the offensive zone as opposed to the defensive zone. He also was usually on the ice with the Sedin twins. Back when Ehrhoff originally signed his contract with the Sabres, Gabriel Desjardins at Arctic Ice Hockey put together an analysis of how the Canucks used Ehrhoff and how favorable it was for the defenseman to put up points.

From AIH back in late June:

40% of the time that Christian Ehrhoff was on the ice, the Sedins were there too.  Ehrhoff got easy ice time - either the 5th- or 6th-softest on the team this season, and the highest percentage of faceoffs in the offensive zone among the defensive corps.

Not only that, but he didn't outshine his teammates in scoring at 5-on-5

Obviously when you're playing with players like the Sedin twins, on the power play, and in a position where you're starting closer to the goal you're trying to score on offensive production is going to be slightly easier to come by, and that's the situation Ehrhoff usually found himself in as a member of the Canucks. That's not to say that Ehrhoff is a bad player or that he'll be easily replaceable, it just may not be as hard as one might expect. The Canucks still have some impressive depth on the blue line with Dan Hamhuis, Alexander Edler, Kevin Bieksa, Keith Ballard and Sami Salo. It's still an excellent group.

Edler, 25, will likely take over Ehrhoff's role and he seems more than capable of leading the Canucks blue line from an offensive perspective. In just 51 games last season he finished with eight goals and 23 assists, which followed seasons where he recorded 42 and 37 points respectively. It should be interesting to see what sort of boost -- if any -- his production gets this season taking on more power play responsibilities and filling the role that belonged to Ehrhoff the past two seasons.

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.

Posted on: September 12, 2011 5:33 pm
Edited on: September 12, 2011 5:50 pm
 

Sykora, Bernier to tryout with Devils

SykoraBy: Adam Gretz

The New Jersey Devils announced on Monday that they will be bringing in three free agents on tryout contracts for training camp, including an old friend that was a part of their top line during their Stanley Cup winning season back in 2000.

Petr Sykora, Steve Bernier and Anton Stralman are the players that will be getting a look with the Devils, with Sykora's name being the one that will stand out given his history with the club. Not only was he the Devils' first-round draft pick in 1995, he ended up scoring 145 of his 302 career goals as a member of the Devils over parts of seven seasons, and also helped to form their top-scoring line, along with Jason Arnott and Patrik Elias, during their Stanley Cup victory over the Dallas Stars at the start of the decade.

The 35-year-old Sykora did not play in the NHL last season, having spent the year in Russia playing for Dynamo Minsk of the KHL, scoring eight goals in 28 games. He also spent some time playing in the Czech Republic. His last NHL appearance was with the Minnesota Wild during the 2009-10 campaign where he scored two goals in 14 games before being sidelined with a concussion. He was eventually released.

Bernier, a former first-round pick of the San Jose Sharks, has been a member of four different teams (San Jose, Buffalo, Vancouver and Florida) since entering the NHL during the 2005-06 season, and has scored 76 goals in 385 games. He was traded to Florida from Vancouver prior to last season, along with Michael Grabner and a first-round pick, in exchange for defenseman Keith Ballard.

In what has turned out to be a rather dubious decision in hindsight, the Panthers kept Bernier and ended up placing Grabner on waivers before the start of the regular season in an effort to demote him to the minor leagues. The result: Bernier scored five goals for Florida in 68 games while Grabner went on to blossom after being claimed by the New York Islanders, scoring 34 goals in what proved to be a breakout season for the speedy forward.

Stralman, a defenseman with a bit of an offensive game, spent the past two years with the Columbus Blue Jackets and managed to produce some respectable offensive numbers from the blue line, scoring seven goals to go with 45 assists in 124 games. The Devils are definitely in need of some offensive punch from their defense. During the 2010-11 season, for example, Andy Greene led all of their rearguards in scoring with just 23 points, while no other defenseman on the roster managed to tally more than the 18 points Stralman put up with the Blue Jackets.

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.

Posted on: June 8, 2011 1:20 pm
Edited on: June 8, 2011 8:19 pm
 

Replacing Horton's production no easy task

BOSTON --- Rookie Tyler Seguin replaced injured Nathan Horton in the lineup for Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final on Wednesday night, but Boston Bruins coach Claude Julien said it’s not easy to supplant the lost production

“It's going to take everybody to play well again, not just because Nathan is out of our lineup,” Julien said. ‘That's what it's going to take to beat this team. We've known that from the start.”

Seven different Bruins scored in Monday’s 8-1 victory and all the goals were tallied after Horton was knocked from the game --- and the series --- with a severe concussion early in the first period after a check from Vancouver defenseman Aaron Rome. Horton is tied for the second-most playoff points (17) among the Bruins.

“Obviously, you can’t replace a guy like Horts,” Seguin said “Everyone just has to step up, just like when Bergy [Patrice Bergeron] was out. All the guys had to step up even more and that’s just what everyone is going to ask out of each other for tonight’s game.”

Seguin, 19, first cracked the Bruins' postseason lineup in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Tampa Bay Lightning as Bergeron recovered from a concussion. Seguin scored six points (three goals, three assists) in the first two games of that series, but has failed to net a point since. Shawn Thornton replaced Seguin in the lineup for Monday’s game.

Seguin said he tried to absorb as much from coaches and others as he sat for Game 3.

“I think you kind of can figure it out and know what you are doing wrong, what you are doing right and what you need to stay consistent,” Seguin said.

The Canucks inserted Keith Ballard in place of Rome, who was suspended for the duration of the Finals by the league on Tuesday for the hit on Horton.

-- A.J. Perez
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com