VANCOUVER, B.C. -- Canucks defenseman Keith Ballard's reaction to being told he was going to play in Game 7 Tuesday at Rogers Arena went like this:
"He said, 'You're in,' and I said, 'OK,' " the very reserved Ballard said Tuesday morning after what could be Vancouver's final morning skate of the season. "That was it."
Ballard did not play in Games 5 and 6, but he is likely going to replace Sami Salo, who left Game 6 with an injury and did not participate in the Canucks morning skate.
Canucks coach Alain Vigneault would not confirm that Salo is out, saying instead he's "day-to-day" and "we don't discuss lineup issues." He also wouldn't say that Tanner Glass is going back in the lineup after being scratched in Game 6, but Glass said he was and it's likely that he goes in for rookie Cody Hodgson.
Ballard averaged 12:52 of ice time in the first four games of the series and did not record a point. He had 7 points in 65 games during the regular season.
This is Ballard's first go-round in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, so obviously it's his first Game 7. Despite showing very little emotion during his interviews Tuesday morning, he is excited to get back into the lineup, especially in a win-or-else game.
"This is the position you want to be in as a player," Ballard said. "It's the big stage. It's Game 7."
Sitting out the last two games was not easy for Ballard, but he said he reacted as professionally as he could and rooted hard for the guys who were in the lineup.
"It's no fun sitting and watching and not being able to help," Ballard said. "You work hard, support the team. You want the guys that are in to play well. You're hoping they do well. Obviously we had a couple of tough losses, but we're in a good spot. We need to win one game.
"This is the most important game of the season and we understand the consequences if we don't show up and win tonight," he added. "This is the position you want to be in as a player. You control everything."
Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl