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Also, not sure if this article was posted, but KB4 has expressed that he enjoys playing less and winning, than playing in 25+ minutes a game and being on a bottom feeding team. Cut out the start of the article, it's worth a read.
One thing became clear this week, itís still not enough. Ballardís margin for error isnít razor thin. Itís three bad games out of four. The fifteen previous games, all solid, meant nothing, when Vigneault sat Ballard in favour of Andrew Alberts on Saturday, then both Alberts and Cam Barker on Sunday in Calgary.
After saying Ballard would get another chance against San Jose last night, Vigneault said he the defenceman should have seen the benching coming. Thatís got to hurt.
ďIíve got to play within those limits, I guess,Ē Ballard said.
ďFor where I fit in, bottom line, I donít have that much room for error, unless Iím doing great things in the other end, in the offensive zone to make up for it.Ē
How did Ballard handle it?
ďI bitch to my wife,Ē he said. ďIt was a frustrating couple of days.
ďYou try not to keep anything at the rink, thatís for sure. Part of being a good teammate is handling that stuff professionally.
ďWhen I go home, and Iím around my family, Iím frustrated for sure. But itís not something thatís keeping me up at night. Itís not something Iím pacing around all day worired about.Ē
What Ballard hasnít done is complained. Yes, his agent called the Canucks brass after the healthy scratches. Heís not the first agent to call a team to figure out what was going on after his client got benched. It wasnít a call to demand more ice time or a trade. Thatís because Ballard has come to terms with his position on the team. Heís seen the other side.
ďSometimes people get it in their head, I have to go somewhere else, Iím being held back,Ē he said. ďHow do you know how the next place will be?
ďIíve had that opportunity in the first five years of my career to play 25 minutes, to go over the boards every other shift up by one, down by one, power play, penalty kill. And I finished 26th, 27th, 29th and whatever in the league and itís not fun.
ďItís fun playing a lot. Itís fun getting those opportunities. Itís fun getting the one time on the 5-on-3. But it sucks losing.
ďI like it here for that fact. Itís a good group. Itís fun.Ē
It wasnít always fun, especially his first year in Vancouver, when he had to come to terms with a new, diminished role
ďIíve been playing hockey since I was five. That was probably the first bit of adversity Iíve ever had,Ē he said. ďEverything had always gone well. Iíve been kind of the go-to guy on any team Iíve been on. You have bad games, whatever. You go play the next one."
ďYou donít worry too much about the mental side, the adversity. Going through it was a battle. But I learned a lot of different ways to see things coming before they kind out of control. Before they spiral and snowball.
ďThere are different ways I can prepare mentally, as far as focusing on the things I do well, the things that made me successful. All the outside stuff, all the decisions that are out of my control, whether itís ice time, or situational stuff or itís why am I not playing, that is out of my control.Ē