Wild notes: Ballard tries to find early-season form

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 18, 2013 - 6:28 AM

 

After being in and out of former Canucks coach Alain Vigneault’s doghouse during his three injury-riddled seasons in Vancouver, defenseman Keith Ballard played against his old team Tuesday for the first time since signing with his hometown Wild.

With the Canucks strapped for cap space last offseason, Ballard was bought out of his remaining two-year, $8.4 million contract. He signed a two-year, $3 million deal with the Wild a day later.

Ballard, 31, got off to a solid start with the Wild (plus-3 his first five games) before taking a puck to the face in Buffalo on Oct. 14. He missed the next seven games because of a concussion, returned to get three assists in two games before breaking two ribs Nov. 5 against Calgary.

He missed the next nine games. He has no points and is a minus-6 in the 11 games since his return.

“Those two injuries real close together, they set me back a little bit as far as the pace of game picked up, guys got better as the season went on,” Ballard said. “It took me a few games just to get up to speed.”

Ballard is appreciative coach Mike Yeo stuck with him, especially when he could have slipped right-shot defensemen Nate Prosser (scratched in 11 consecutive games) or rookie Matt Dumba (now with Team Canada to play in the World Junior Championship) in Ballard’s spot on the right side of partner Clayton Stoner.

“This is the fresh start I wanted, and I have to take advantage of it,” Ballard said. “That was one thing that was hard in Vancouver. There was not much room for error. And I understood that. That was the way it was. It wasn’t something I complained about. It just made it tough at times. There just wasn’t room to have an off night. An off night sometimes led to three, four nights watching games in the press box.”

Granlund ‘flying’

Center Mikael Granlund continued to feel no ill effects from his return from a concussion after a second consecutive day skating with teammates.

“He’s flying,” said Yeo, who didn’t rule Granlund out of a potential return Thursday at Pittsburgh.

Yeo said Granlund, who missed his 10th consecutive game Tuesday and 12th in 13 games, planned to get a good workout in Tuesday afternoon. If he felt good afterward, the Wild planned to “push” him in practice Wednesday before deciding his status for the Penguins game.

Yeo said Granlund has been missed, both because of how much he aids the second power-play unit and because “secondary scoring since he’s been out has dropped down.”

The Wild is essentially 6-6-1 without Granlund with 20 goals scored (1.53 a game). Granlund has 12 points in 24 games..

Just a scare

There was a scare during Tuesday’s morning skate when goalie Josh Harding anguished in pain after being struck by a shot near his throat from rookie Erik Haula. Harding left the ice, and goalie Niklas Backstrom prepared as if he was going to start against Vancouver.

Harding, the NHL’s goals-against average leader, returned after five minutes — much to the relief of the pale-looking Haula.

“I’m pretty sure he wet his pants,” teammate Zenon Konopka joked.

Etc.

• Right winger Brett Bulmer, recalled last week in San Jose, played his third consecutive game and first at home since Oct. 27, 2011, against Anaheim — the final game in a nine-game audition before being returned to Kelowna of the WHL.

• Left winger Mike Rupp was scratched for the fourth consecutive game and right winger Justin Fontaine for the second in a row.

• Canucks defenseman Ryan Stanton left the game because of a leg injury in the first period after sliding feet first into the boards on a Konopka tripping penalty.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Los Angeles - LP: C. Frias 2 FINAL
Colorado - WP: J. De La Rosa 16
San Francisco - WP: S. Romo 4 FINAL
Arizona - LP: A. Reed 2
Boston - LP: C. Buchholz 1 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: F. Liriano 9
Toronto - LP: J. Happ 1 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: B. Norris 6
Washington - LP: R. Detwiler 1 FINAL
Atlanta - WP: A. Wood 3
Miami - WP: H. Alvarez 4 FINAL
NY Mets - LP: D. Gee 3
NY Yankees - WP: B. McCarthy 3 FINAL
Tampa Bay - LP: A. Cobb 2
Cincinnati 1 Top 9th Inning
Chicago Cubs 3
Chicago WSox 1 Bottom 7th Inning
Kansas City 5
Cleveland - WP: C. Carrasco 2 FINAL
Houston - LP: B. Oberholtzer 0
Detroit 4 Top 7th Inning
Minnesota 6
Milwaukee 0 Top 9th Inning
St. Louis 2
Seattle 0 Top 3rd Inning
LA Angels 0
Texas 0 Top 3rd Inning
Oakland 0
Philadelphia 0 Bottom 2nd Inning
San Diego 0
Tampa Bay 9/18/14 7:25 PM
Atlanta
San Diego 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Dallas 9/21/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Washington 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Houston 9/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Minnesota 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Tennessee 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Baltimore 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland
Green Bay 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Indianapolis 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Oakland 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New England
San Francisco 9/21/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Denver 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Kansas City 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Miami
Pittsburgh 9/21/14 7:30 PM
Carolina
Chicago 9/22/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
(5) Auburn 9/18/14 6:30 PM
(20) Kansas State
Connecticut 9/19/14 7:00 PM
So Florida
Old Dominion 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Rice
Troy 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(13) Georgia
Georgia Tech 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Virginia Tech
Eastern Mich 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(11) Michigan State
Iowa 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Maryland 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Syracuse
Tulane 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Duke
Hawaii 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Marshall 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Carolina 9/20/14 2:30 PM
East Carolina
Army 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Virginia 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(21) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 9/20/14 2:30 PM
SMU
Rutgers 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Central Mich 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Kansas
Utah 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Florida 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(3) Alabama
Louisville 9/20/14 2:30 PM
FIU
Fla Atlantic 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Wyoming
Indiana 9/20/14 3:00 PM
(18) Missouri
San Jose St 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Minnesota
Texas State 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Illinois
Massachusetts 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Penn State
Georgia State 9/20/14 5:00 PM
Washington
Appalachian St 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Miss State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
(8) LSU
Northern Ill 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas
Middle Tennessee 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Memphis
Utah State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Miami-Ohio 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Idaho 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Ohio U
Ball State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
(14) So Carolina 9/20/14 6:30 PM
Vanderbilt
(4) Oklahoma 9/20/14 6:30 PM
West Virginia
Ga Southern 9/20/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
UNLV 9/20/14 7:00 PM
Houston
(22) Clemson 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State
Miami-Florida 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
New Mexico 9/20/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 9/20/14 9:00 PM
Arizona
Louisiana 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Boise State
(2) Oregon 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
San Diego St 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
Toronto 9/19/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Edmonton 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Calgary 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Ottawa 9/21/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Which local pro team are you most excited about?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close