Nov 152010
 

[Every Monday, Katie Maximick takes your questions and gives her take on the Canucks in her own cantankerous style. If you have any questions about the Canucks, send it to her via Twitter (@canucksgirl44)]

Keith Ballard

Photo credit: zimbio.com

With two more games remaining in their eastern road trip, the Canucks are heading to Buffalo, NY with a lot of confidence, boasting 11 goals in the last two games and winning two out of the three road games.

That being said, the fan base is not boasting about the state of the Canucks’ blueline at the moment. Even though the team is tenth in the league in the penalty-kill, the number of noticeable bad penalties and turnovers being made by Vancouver’s defencemen is making many fans cringe.

On top of that, Ballard is still sitting, and talks of extending Ehrhoff’s contract have reached a stalemate between GM Mike Gillis and Ehrhoff’s agent, Rick Curran, despite Ehrhoff being one of Vancouver’s best on the blueline.

Many fans are wondering what’s going on.

Darrin (@DTIslandSales) asked, “With the current play of the Canucks’ defence, what should they do with Keith Ballard?”

Well as we all know, Ballard has been a healthy scratch for the entire eastern road trip so far. When Vigneault decided to send the defenceman to the press box, Ballard was sitting at -3 with zero points, pretty dismal if you ask me.

But then again, Ryan Parent (D) is also at -3 with zero points.

Is Ballard being punished because he’s considered a veteran – an expensive one – and thus should know better than someone like Parent? Or is Vigneault playing favourites?

Fans are quick to assume the latter, calling AV out for being a Francophile, and what they consider to be an odd love affair with Kevin Bieksa (who is actually at +5 right now, tied for best +/- with Malhotra). Others were saying that Ballard’s size, speed and defensive style is exactly what Vancouver needed when they were shut out in Montreal on Tuesday.

I would ask Vigneault what he has to lose by playing Ballard for a game or two and seeing what happens. After all, hasn’t Ballard learned his lesson, having to be a healthy scratch for the entire eastern road trip so far? One would think that he’s probably made a vow to play better as soon as he’s allowed to hit the ice. Whenever that is. God knows Vigneault’s a sucker for punishing people, but I think three games is enough.

As for talks with Ehrhoff coming to a stall regarding a contract extension, there’s no huge hurry to sign the German defenceman, but it would give Canuck Nation a bit of security to know that he’s locked in for a few more years.

There’s speculation that agent Curran is seeking a contract between $4 million to $5 million per season – Ehrhoff can probably get that much in the open market – but is that a little much for a defenceman in the new NHL, or is that how valuable #5 has become in Vancouver?

What do the fans think?

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