If there was one Vancouver Canuck you'd pick to be the first to help an old lady across the street, it would have to be Keith Ballard.
Mild-mannered Ballard harbours a wet and wild pastDefenceman recalls dousing a heckler with water in Dallas in 2007 and $1,000 fine that followed
Quiet. Unassuming. Polite . Boy, did we have the 28-year-old defenceman pegged all wrong.
Ballard was once fined $1,000 for spraying an elderly female fan with water during a game in 2007.
His altercation with the fairer sex was a hot topic and resulted in a few laughs as he recalled the incident for teammates and coaches looking for the backstory during the Canucks practice at Rogers Arena on Friday.
"Everyone's been asking about it today," asked a perplexed Ballard, following the team's 45-minute skate.
"Now you. What's behind this, anyway?"
Well, first, Boston Bruins forward Nathan Horton made headlines earlier this week for squirting a Tampa Bay fan with water at the end of the Lightning's 5-2 win on Wednesday to force a Game 7 in the Eastern Conference final.
Second, Ballard and Tie Domi are the only players in recent memory who were fined for doing the same thing. And third, there's another five games before the start of the Stanley Cup final and we're scratching the bottom of the barrel for story ideas, so just humour us, Keith.
"It was this crazy older lady in Dallas and she pissed me off," said Ballard.
"Everyone who plays the game probably knows who she is. She sits behind the penalty box she has the dry erase board and makes signs and she's just annoying -much like I'm sure guys who come into our building think the Green Men are.
"Every rink has those people. She was just chirping me the whole time . so I just squirted her with a water bottle that was sitting there. The next day I got a call from the league saying, 'You can't do that.'" Ballard, like Domi six years before him, was fined $1,000 for his actions.
"I didn't think it was that big a deal, it was only water, but I understand, you can't do that to fans," he said.
"I think all of us, whether we're getting heckled by them or they're cheering for us, we all appreciate fans and realize where the game would be without them.
"I was a little younger and more easily fired up back then. I think I was just upset because I had taken a penalty."
That's not to say he hasn't been tempted in the four years since.
"I think everyone get's the urge now and again, I've just never acted on it," he said with a laugh.
"You get some fans and they're pretty knowledgeable on what they're saying and pretty ruthless. I try not to take it too personal, but you never know, if you're not in the mood for something."
So much for first impressions.
I was ok with the whole thing, didn't think anything bad of the story but the "It was this crazy older lady in Dallas and she pissed me off" line got me. I laughed for a good 10 minutes after reading it. It's priceless. There's no need to add any of my nonsense to it all, so I'm just going to leave it at that.
..............and hope if I ever meet Keith Ballard there are no water bottles around.