Here's a little vignette for Fountain Tire and Canucks.com, featuring interviews with Keith Ballard and Ryan Kesler. The best stuff comes courtesy of Ballard, who gives us some insight into why he never gets any ice time. Turns out it's because:
1) He has scoliosis and borderline osteoporosis.
Ballard has every ailment short of bulging discs. How much do you think Mike Gillis knew when he traded a 1st round pick and a Calder finalist for Mr. Burns?
2) He sucks at shooting.
His exact words: "They don't even let me shoot in practice in the shootout [...] Have you seen me shoot? You wouldn't let me shoot either." Wayne Gretzky, who coached Ballard in Phoenix, once said to him, famously, "You miss 100% of the shots you, Keith Ballard, take." Revisionists later replaced "Keith Ballard" with "don't", and made a buttload of money on motivational posters.
3) He thinks that being clutch means not falling down.
Suffice it to say, if you've watched Ballard for more than a handful of games, you know he's not clutch. He knows it too. Do you think confidence is an issue for Hips? I'd say so. His shootout strategy is as follows: "I'd just try to get a shot on net, put my head down and skate back to the bench." Here's a pro-tip for Keith Ballard: when hanging your head in shame is part of your move, you're setting yourself up for failure. Someone told me that on a date once.
Thanks to Play Me That Ballard for the tip.