Originally posted on NorthWest Sports Beat  |  Last updated 4/20/12
Rejuvenated Ballard boosts blue line One year ago in the playoffs Keith Ballard appeared to be Alain Vigneault’s favourite whipping boy, as he was frequently dropped from the post season lineup and fell victim to several less than flattering appraisals by his coach. To his credit, the expensive free agent defenceman, acquired from the Florida Panthers (Vancouver’s favoured players dealer), was always professional in public forums acknowledging the need to improve his play, while resisting the urge to fire off any critical frustrations of his own. He came back determined at the start of this year to improve on his highly inconsistent first year performance with the Canucks. In the season opener Ballard scored a highlight reel goal off the rush, appearing to quiet the critics somewhat. But some of the same inconsistencies returned to plague his game, such as missed checking assignments and stickhandling turnovers. Keith Ballard has opened eyes with his good form against the LA Kings...
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