Keith Ballard sidelined indefinitely for Canucks

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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.