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Kyle Wellwood: Honest, Underachiever, or Honest Underachiever?

Patrick CwiklinskiCorrespondent IAugust 26, 2008

Scenario. You're a 25-year-old hockey player coming off a lackluster season with a mediocre team and nothing seems to be going your way.

You start your year by suffering a sports hernia and then return 15 games later only to put up some less-than-impressive numbers. After your team is knocked out of playoff contention, you go in for yet another surgery, ending your season at 21 points in 59 games.

During the offseason, you break a bone in your right foot while training. Your team has had enough of you and decides the best thing to do is to part ways, so they place you on waivers. After a few days of feeling sorry for yourself, your agent finally calls you with some good news. You've been claimed by another team.

Now, most players in your shoes would be thrilled to have such a golden opportunity to revive their careers and prove that they're still capable of becoming the offensive threat that they once were.

But you're not most players. You're Kyle Wellwood of the Vancouver Canucks. Instead of showing your appreciation for being part of a team for the 2008-2009 season, instead of assuring the promising staff, fans, and media that you will do everything in your power to be better and try to stay healthy, you say, "It's hit or miss with me."

It sounds a lot worse than it really is and I did fail to mention everything about him acknowledging that he has a clean slate in Vancouver and that he hopes to regain his old form. Still, "It's a hit or miss with me," is that really the message you want to send to Canucks fans? Good luck earning their trust and support.

To me it's just a really big slap in the face as a fan and spectator. It seems as if he doesn't care to be here and isn't going to go out of his way to make the best of his one-year deal.

With that said, as much as I don't like to hear what he has to say, I have to give him some credit for being honest—brutally honest, but honest nonetheless. It takes guts not to go for the scripted, media-friendly answer and instead say what you really think of yourself at that particular moment in time.

Wellwood speaks his mind truthfully and that is a great quality in its own right. Although, perhaps not to the extreme of saying that you're either going to be a big contributor or do virtually nothing.

So the big question is, with all his attitude about playing, what can we expect from Kyle Wellwood this season? Can we expect him to step up, be healthy and put up points regularly, possibly earning a spot on the second line as a top six forward like he believes he can be?

Or can we expect Alain Vigneault to hate him, his lack of production, and his crummy attitude which will result in him being waived again? Maybe this time he will not even be claimed by another team and end up in Manitoba with fellow Canucks underachiever Nolan Baumgartner. As of right now, it's totally up in the air.

Whatever happens, we have no control over it. I just hope that Wellwood can find his way and show us why he was so effective in Belleville and Windsor and even in his performance with the Toronto Maple Leafs before last season, showing a lot of potential for offensive growth.

Nobody is asking him to be Mats Sundin. They're just asking him to be Kyle Wellwood, the Kyle Wellwood that everyone knows he's capable of being, even if that means giving him a slight nudge in the right direction, making a push for an even better future.

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