Keith Ballard’s seemingly mysterious trade out of Florida this summer came out of the blue without much rumor or warning. Ballard was sent to Vancouver in exchange for Steve Bernier, Michael Grabner, and the 25th overall pick in the 2010 draft giving the Panthers some much needed forward depth while giving the Canucks a more formidable defensive unit.
While the trade made sense for everyone involved, the reasons for Ballard being sent packing became clearer today. As it turns out, Ballard and Panthers head coach Pete DeBoer didn’t exactly see eye to eye as The Province’s Tony Gallagher found out.
But as the story goes, Ballard was one of the guys who decided he’d taken enough and wasn’t going to put up with much more, at least not without letting his feelings be known.
“Yeah, that’s the way some have seen it,” Ballard said when asked about these exchanges, being careful to take as much of the blame as possible himself without pointing any fingers.
“There’s no doubt I had a poor year last year and he was riding me hard. He was trying to get more out of me and I felt I had more to give, that’s the coach’s job. And there were a couple of meetings. There were a couple of yelling matches, yes. And, yeah, the other guys heard them.
“We had our differences, and it got loud but I don’t think it was anything more than a coach trying to get more out of a player.”
Shouting matches probably aren’t anything totally out of the norm in most locker rooms. Not everyone on a team is going to play well together and have everything be hunky-dory. Disagreements occur and sometimes a coach that’s both new and trying to establish himself is going to run into some guys that resist.
Pete DeBoer coming to the NHL straight from the CHL goes from coaching teenagers to coaching professionals, many of whom have been around the league and back again. Coming out with a brash style can rub guys the wrong way and it’s safe to say that Ballard got rubbed right out of Florida. Getting dealt to a team that will contend for the Stanley Cup makes for a pretty sweet bonus out of everything. Perhaps the aggravation is worth it then.
Then again, maybe DeBoer was just a huge Tomas Vokoun and was holding a really hard grudge for past grievances.