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02-18-2013, 08:45 PM
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I have no doubt they're sheltering Ballard (both for effectiveness and probably part of it is to make him look better), but the type of minutes he's getting aren't much different than what he got in his first 2 years here. He's playing against mostly the 3rd and 4th lines with some 2nd lines sprinkled in there and he's on the ice with the same types of guys (mostly the Canucks' 3rd line with some time with the Sedins).

He was always getting fairly easy minutes on the Canucks but until this year he wasn't up to the task of handling even those. IMO what's different this year is more his play (and maybe a more solid partner in Tanev) than it is his ice time. Which is good IMO, because it suggests he might be able handle tougher minutes if he gets put in that situation due to injuries.

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