Keith Ballard

Keith Ballard sidelined indefinitely for Canucks


Vancouver Canucks defenseman Keith Ballard is out indefinitely with what coach Alain Vigneault calls “upper-body symptoms.”

Vigneault said last week that Ballard, who hasn’t played since Feb. 7, has been having “neck issues,” but the team wasn’t “sure what it is.”

And while we’d never, ever accuse the Canucks of finding, ahem, creative ways to get under the salary cap…

Via The Province:

Vigneault said Ballard will not be joining the team on its upcoming six-game road trip. Maybe that could change but the coach was adamant he wasn’t going. That suggests the next game Ballard could possibly play is March 1.

That, of course, would mean he won’t see game action again until after the trade deadline, which, conveniently means he can be put on the Long Term Injury List. And that’s a move which could give the Canucks some salary cap breathing room.

You might recall last season when injuries to key Vancouver defensemen allowed the Canucks to not only keep Kevin Bieksa (thanks to an offseason injury to Sami Salo) but also acquire Chris Higgins and Maxim Lapierre at the deadline (thanks to Alex Edler’s back surgery in January).

Ballard’s cap hit is $4.2 million.

Teuvo time: Teravainen to open with Toews, Hossa

2015 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Six
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Teuvo Teravainen has played both center and right wing over the course of his brief NHL career.

Now, he’s got a new position — left wing — and a pair of shiny new linemates to boot.

Teravainen will open the year playing alongside captain Jonathan Toews and right wing Marian Hossa, per the Sun-Times.

The move could be a boon for the young Finn. Several ex-Chicago wingers thrived playing alongside Toews and Hossa, most notably Brandon Saad and Patrick Sharp.

It’ll be interesting to see what kind of production Teravainen, who just turned 21 last month, can manufacture on Chicago’s top line. His numbers from last year weren’t spectacular (nine points in 34 games), but he did a solid job of racking up points en route to the Stanley Cup, with 10 in 18 games.

It’ll also be interesting to see how long he sticks with Toews and Hossa.

Head coach Joel Quenneville has been known as a frequent user of the line blender, often switching up his combos at at moment’s notice.

That said, Quenneville is hoping to find some stability with this new-look group.

“[Teuvo will] play there to start the season,” he said. “Hopefully, all year.”

‘Great story’ Janmark surprises, makes Dallas roster

Brian Elliott, Mattias Janmark-Nylen
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Pretty cool story out of Texas, where Mattias Janmark, the 22-year-old rookie that’s played a grand total of nine games in North America, has defied the odds to make the Stars’ opening-night roster.

“It’s a great story,” Dallas GM Jim Nill said, per the Morning News. “We really only planned to have him here for maybe two preseason games and then send him back. But he just kept being one of the best players out there, and he changed our minds.

“It’s a great example of what you can do if you just play hard.”

Nill acquired Janmark, 22, from Detroit at last year’s deadline as part of the Erik Cole trade. Nill was familiar with the Swedish forward from his time with the Wings — he was part of the front office team that drafted Janmark in ’13 — but didn’t think the deal would pay such immediate dividends.

As for Janmark, he didn’t even think he’d be in North America this year.

He has a contract with SHL club Frolunda, where he scored 36 points in 55 games last year. Given he’s barely played in the AHL — a few games with Grand Rapids, a few with Texas — Janmark figured he’d be back in Europe this season.

His strong play in the exhibition season changed all that. Janmark beat out two of Dallas’ touted prospects — former AHL rookie of the year Curtis McKenzie, and ’12 first-rounder Radek Faksa — for a roster spot, and showed good chemistry with third-line center Cody Eakin.

Janmark also performed well on a line with Jason Spezza and Ales Hemsky.