New team, same result.
That’s the story for Keith Ballard following his fourth consecutive healthy scratch on Tuesday, as he watched from the press box while Minnesota lost 3-0 to Ottawa.
“I’ve been through this before,” Ballard said, per the Minnesota Star-Tribune. “It’s up to me to be a good teammate, to be positive, to work and to make sure that I’ve done everything I can on the ice and in the gym — I’ve watched a ton of video — and to make sure that when I do play, I’m ready to go.”
Ballard experienced something similar during his three seasons in Vancouver, when he routinely ran afoul of head coach Alain Vigneault and often found himself in the press box. The low point might’ve come during the 2011 Stanley Cup Final, when Ballard was parked in favor of then-22-year-old Chris Tanev, an undrafted rookie that had 29 games of NHL experience.
Vancouver bought out Ballard during this summer’s compliance window and he immediately signed with Minnesota, which looked as though it’d be a quality arrangement. Despite a series of injuries, Ballard played well when called upon — but a brutal stretch in December (one point in 14 games, minus-10 rating) cemented his fate. He hasn’t played since Jan. 7 and appears to have been passed on the blueline depth chart by Jonathon Blum.