May 01, 2009

Anyone else ...

... happy for Kyle Wellwood?

You know, the guy with four points in five playoff games, whom the Toronto Maple Leafs released?




I didn't think so.

Oh well. Do your thing, Kyle. I miss you.

Go ahead, make the fat joke if you must; if it really makes you feel better. Remember, he who laughs last laughs loudest.

The Leafs erred in letting Wellwood go. The fact that he was waived by Vancouver as well be damned. You don't give up on young players. You work with them. Trust me, it's better to just admit it.

Go Canucks. One Roberto Luongo is still unbeaten in the playoffs (!!!!1).

UPDATE: The following is for PPP, who hates Mr. Wellwood with all his being, and who is beginning to hate me as well ...





12 comments:

Junior said...

Wellwood's subsequent (and recent) success notwithstanding, I disagree with you about whether the Leafs should have let Wellwood go. My understanding is that the Leafs took the position that Wellwood was not listening to the direction he had received; that he was persistently not displaying the commitment the organization demanded of its players. In that situation, particularly where the offender is a young player, the organization has no choice but to send a message throughout the dressing room: meet our basic expectations and commit to your team-mates and this organization, or look for work elsewhere. Hockey is a game in which each of the players succeeds to a greater or lesser extent based upon his will to perform for the benefit of the guy sitting next to him on the bench. Without a collective commitment to team and a singularity of purpose, the team won't succeed. My point is that the collective commitment and singularity of purpose can't develop without each player trusting the other; they don't have to necessarily like each other, but they each have to believe that the others would skate through a wall for him and feel motivated to reciprocate.

In the end, it is immaterial whether Wellwood ever played another NHL game or won the Art Ross trophy; he was a problem in the Leafs' dressing room and he had to go. The point is that his current success does not retroactively make the decision the Leafs had to make the wrong one. If he subsequently got the message - after Vancouver waived him too - well, he may be a slow learner, but good for him. I suspect that many Leaf fans, myself included, will continue to resent him somewhat for not smartening up and taking advantage (and making the most of) his opportunity to play in the NHL when he was in T.O.

Pension Plan Puppets said...

Seriously? It's like you've completely divorced reality when it comes to the Wellwood situation. I think that in your mind the Leafs cut him right after he had 42 points in 48 games just because they felt they had too many young players. Junior put it nicely but if you're happy for Wellwood it's probably because you're actually a Canucks fan now because I doubt that there is one sane Leafs fan that is happy for him.

Scott said...

Haha yeah Wellwood is having the last laugh. I don't know if the Leafs should have kept him, it obviously wasn't going to work out (see that, a Wellwood "working out" joke).
The Leafs of course projected him as a first line player, which he isn't, never was, but then again this is a franchise that projected Justin Pogge as the goalie of the future. I've got a swell Wellwood piece coming down the pipe, boogah!

eyebleaf said...

Junior, that was an epic, epic comment. PPP, I can feel your hatred through my monitor. Scott, I liked the "working out" one. Well played.

Here's my schtick: Wellwood isn't the first young player who didn't "get it." He most certainly won't be the last. I'm reading Michael Lewis' Moneyball right now, so my mindset is moving towards treating any and all players as assets in one large market. We gave up on an asset. Was that asset underperforming? Absolutely. Was Wellwood putting the "ass" in "asset"? Absolutely. But he was still an asset.

He was coming off two abdominal surgeries. Surgeries that take a normal, more in-shape athlete much time to recover from. He played like shit coming off those surgeries. The Leafs knew it would take time. The Leafs knew it would take effort to change the player's mentality. Instead of trying, they let him walk away for nothing.

Could the Leafs not have sent Wellwood to the minors? Couldn't the Marlies have used someone like Wellwood? Could the Leafs not have given Ron Wilson a chance to work with Wellwood, and have him crack the whip. Mr. Wilson seemed to get a lot more out of guys like Jason Blake and Mikhail Grabovski, who's to say he couldn't have turned Wellwood around?

My point is that the Leafs didn't even give it a chance. And Wellwood is, in fact, getting the last laugh. We all know he's a talented hockey player. And while it would have been nice if he "got it" with the snap of a finger, life often doesn't work out that way.

blurr1974 said...

Wellwood is fat.

There, now I feel better...

LeafFanInVan said...

More power to Wellwood, but the fact remains that he is stupendously lucky to have gotten as many chances as he did. If it wasn't for the Canucks needing a healthy body in there after they waived him, I don't think he would have ever had another sniff of the NHL. Hindsight is 20/20, but how much time, effort and money do you dump on a guy who perhaps isn't all that keen to be there in the first place?

I'm sure there are tons of other guys out there who are also talented enough to be in the league but lack the drive, commitment and fitness level.

As it stands, Wellwood should be viewed as a cautionary tale, that you shouldn't rely on luck (or bad luck of others) to secure your place in anything, really. I'm not surprised he's finding success now, just as I wouldn't be surprised if he drops off the radar completely, gets waived (again) and ends up in some European league or the ECHL.

Gooner4ever said...

Hw who laughs last.................didn't get the joke. It's hard to feel too bad for wellwood, but then at the same time, it's hard to get to worked up about it either.

Gooner4ever said...

He. Not Hw.

And too. Not to.

I've been up for 18 hours. please forgive me.

eyebleaf said...

Blurr: Best comment ever.

LFIV: You make a great point about how many chances Welly has received. I think that says a lot about how talented he is perceived to be. Teams are willing to work through his shortcomings. I've also heard that he's a pretty smart guy, and eccentric.

Gooner: You'll never be judged here at Sports And The City, mate. Thanks for dropping by and commenting in your sleep-deprived state. Sweet dreams.

furcifer said...

Wellwood's at home in Vancouver with his fellow whales.

eyebleaf said...

Well played, Furcifer. Well played.

Andrew Bucholtz said...

The most impressive thing with Wellwood this year has been his effort on defence. He's turned himself into an excellent checking line centre who can still chip in offensively. In some ways, I think that's what might have been missing in Toronto. When he was asked to be a scorer alone, he didn't really have to work at it; he could float and be a defensive liability. In Vancouver, it was made clear to him early on that he'd be expected to play a large role defensively; I think that forced him to work harder and improved his game at both ends of the ice.