In 25 games, he's got 4 goals and 2 assists. Welly's also a +6, having only been a minus player once (two days ago). He remains an oft-kilter defensive stalwart. The Sharks are 18-4-3 since he joined the team. After Moscow, any NHL team would have sufficed, but Welly appears to have ridden the waiver wire to a mighty fine situation.
However, if Moscow has been happily banished to the past, his time in Vancouver remains a fresh memory. Interest in the Windsor native continues here, even though he now plays for one of the Canucks' stiffest rivals, and perhaps their most daunting potential postseason opponent.
That said, if he was hoping to put out some of the fires still burning for him in the Lower Mainland he certainly poured some water on them when he suggested the Canucks, season-long Stanley Cup favourites, didn't have the mettle to win it all this year. It was last week's most adorable heel turn.
Kyle Wellwood may be happy, but Canuck fans were not happy with him, when he predicted the Sharks were going to be the better team come playoff time. From Jason Botchford:
"I just feel feel Vancouver has a few more lessons to learn and I'm glad I'm in San Jose," Wellwood said. "I just feel [the Sharks] are more mature because they've lost a few more times.
"They're not so scared of losing. I think come playoff time [San Jose] is going to be better.
Instant reaction from a Canucks fanbase that's become a bit smug, a bit big for its britches, vacillated between something akin to screw 'im and instant hand-wringing, but Wellwood's thoughts deserve a longer look. He isn't wrong. He's just living in the past.
Kyle Wellwood hasn't been in this year's Canuck dressing room, so he's simply not qualified to comment. However, he was there last year, and he's rightly critical of what he saw: a roomful of tense, immature players -- a deleterious mindset. It's the mindset Mike Gillis and Alain Vigneault saw and addressed when they called their players to a cooler, more zen-like attitude. It's the mindset that weighed heavily on Roberto Luongo as captain, a weight that shifted and dissipated when Henrik Sedin took up the mantle. It's the mindset that earned Ryan Kesler a reputation as overserious, now so far in the past some are questioning, Kesler included, whether it was ever there (it was).
The reality is that the Canucks of last season were exactly what Kyle Wellwood described, and that's why they lost. They lost their composure, they lost their confidence, they lost their way, and then they just lost. But while Welly was in Russia, the Canucks changed their entire mindset. Many of the players in the room remain the same, but it's not the same room.
In short, Welly was right--in 2010. He's wrong about this year.
Kyle Wellwood on The Wellwoods
As I said, in BC, Welly retains a faithful group of fans (such as ourselves), who have been following him since he left Vancouver last summer. One such subgroup is the Vancouver Wellwoods, a women's street hockey team named in his honour and the runner-up at this year's nationals. We're big fans of the Wellwoods here at PITB, and rumour has it Welly doesn't mind them either:
“It’s nice,” Wellwood said. “To be recognized as a person they can identify with is fun. It’s funny. I’m not embarrassed by it.”
Kyle Wellwood always seems so pleasant, doesn't he? No word on whether or not this gentle response came after Welly found out about the team's motto ("training is cheating") or 3 principles ("Soft hands, sharp minds, overall adorableness").