As if Coach Vigneault did not have enough problems with the constant string of injuries to his team, he must now be scratching his head about a couple of underachieving players.
Just what exactly has happened, to these two promising guys he thought were going to get better?
Is this the same Kyle Wellwood the coach commented on in preseason, about looking faster and sharper?
What about Alex Edler, who was supposed to eat up the minutes vacated by his mentor, Mattias Ohlund?
I’ll start with Alex Edler, who I have been writing about for two seasons now and its still, same old, same old. The Canucks seem to feel that he's loaded with potential, but these days he plays like he’s lost.
His head may sit on a 6’3’’, 215 lb. frame but his heart is somewhere else, along with his thought process.
He leads the team in plus-minus with a minus-seven; a number that would be up in the stratosphere, if he did not have the luxury of a spot on the power play.
Can't figure that one out either, because he sure hasn't earned it.
His reads are somewhere in the bleachers, his physical play lacking, his consistent use of the stick check, which usually results in him being out of position, drives me crazy.
This guy plays without a quality that I think will keep him from seeing his potential come to fruition, “PASSION”.
Edler, as described in the Vancouver media, is a laid back “dude”. That may be so, but all the abilities in the world don't count for squat, unless you have some passion in your game.
Has anyone even seen him get upset in a game, or push someone back?
What has happened to the art of taking your man out of the play with your body? I mean he skates well enough, so why doesn't he use his size?
One of my coaching mantras was “be the best that you can be”, and Alex is short changing himself by not adhering to that.
He has the tools to be a top two defenseman with the Canucks, and was expected to fill in the gap by the departed Mattias Ohlund but instead looks disinterested on most nights.
This is now his third season and I don’t see him leaning towards improvement. With the Canucks paying him $3.25M, that's a lotta coin to be paying for a D man playing this poorly.
On the other hand, if you look at it from the glass-half-full perspective, then I guess he is halfway through the five-to-six years it takes for a defenseman to mature.
But who can wait that long these days?
Kyle Wellwood really baffles me. I nicknamed him “Magic” last year after watching the natural ability he displayed.
This guy would make passes with his back to the play right on the tape of his teammate. He had soft hands, was scoring goals, and when it came time for the playoffs, showed everyone he could deliver when the going got tough.
He came into training camp trimmed down, producing a quicker skating "Magic". As I watched him I thought, "Here’s a guy who's going to have a breakout year."
At the time of this writing, Wellwood has played 15 games and has one point. If it were not for all the injuries, he would be sitting up in the press box.
Now, because of those injuries, he has centered the third line with what one would call "plumber type players". But since he had 18 goals last year, you would think this wouldn’t slow him down.
Coach Vigneault has given him all sorts of opportunities, putting him on the power play and matching him up with some quality players like Mason Raymond, Alex Burrows, and Mikael Samuelsson.
Suffice it to say, as the Canucks start to get some of their injured players back, either Wellwood starts producing (28 points in 89 games with the Nucks, not good enough) or he’ll be looking at the waiver wire—again.
Tonight he will start on the second line. I hope good things happen and the "Magic" re-appears.