A quick recap of some Canuck soundbites from this past week, three in particular:
1. Kyle Wellwood's "hit or miss"
Waiver wire additions for this team rarely turn out to be any sort of relevant long term solution; Cowen was ok for a bit, Weaver was a serviceable band-aid last year and having Kris Beech for thirty seconds was a good laugh for all of us.
So sure Wellwood was free, signed for cheap and we all hope that he can be the point-a-game guy again. But when one of your first real introductions to the media is a time where you all but admit you're a project does little to assuage anyone's fear (yo!) that you'll be more "miss" then "hit". Jesus, at least lie to us a little.
2. Steve Bernier's mental demons
A bit more positive then Wellwood, but still slightly disconcerting that the new third Sedin has struggles with confidence and insecurities. If you read his story, you can definitely understand why. But at the same time doesn't a little demon pop up on your shoulder and ask aloud "how much slack will Vigneault - a coach not known for patience or being tight-lipped - give Bernier if he does hit a slump and how will that affect his play?"
3. Mike Gillis preparing to "hear the howls"
If reading two of the big three new additions to the team have some mental hurdles to clear didn't perk you up, then hearing that the pit boss is fully prepared to have food thrown at him when his team implodes on the ice is just icing on the cake. And why is he ready to take a Jack Daniels bottle to his skull? To defend his team plan of course.
"What I'm trying to avoid is taking some older guy on a long term contract, and I think if we're patient we should be able to do that. We've been patient with Sundin and not a whole lot has gone on since we've made our offer.
"We're still hopeful, although we didn't think it would take this long. He may still end up coming, and we hope he does. But if not, we want to give some of our young players the opportunity to make an impact as opposed to simply plugging in some older guy."
I touched on this already because I find this to be a positive thing: just say no to the Sundin's and Schneider's of the planet and let some of the kids in, like Grabner, Hansen, Jaffray and maybe Hodgson. I do find it troubling when he says "not a whole lot has gone on since we've made the offer". I hope he means Sundin himself and not any game-planning for the possibility reality that Sundin isn't coming. Was our GM's big summer plans solely consisted of chucking all his eggs in the Sundin basket and then watching the grass grow? And how long is he ready to hear those howls for anyway? One game? One month? One season?
I'll put my normal biblical level of cynicism aside here because I don't think it's fair to blow off this team yet despite what sounds like a need for a group therapy session (good news Ryan Walter!). First off, we still have no idea what this team will look like on opening night nor what training camp surprises may pop up. Secondly, assuming our defense can steer clear of the ER this year, the Canucks will still be one of the hardest teams to score against and that's, I don't know, vaguely important in hockey.
And all of that leads me to the my third point: Luongo. Gillis doesn't have the benefit of time to let this team rebuild as Luongo's contract year looms on the horizon. Luongo's not going to stick around while the Canucks become the Florida Panthers in front of his eyes and to have his contract status weigh on the team next year isn't advantageous in the least (to speak nothing of the fact Sanford can't carry this team and Schneider hasn't seen a single NHL game yet). Gillis knows his best asset is that he inherited the best goalie in the league and the only way to protect that investment is to win now; building cautiously was a Dave Nonis mentality, not Gillis's (or so we're lead to believe). The Sundin offer, as asinine as it was, confirms that much.
Sure we should be realistic in that some teams may roll into town and absolutely paste this squad, but I think there's more talent and promise on Vancouver now they when Gillis found it; one or two more moves in tandem with the kids stepping up could definitely put this team in the top eight of the conference.
We'll see what's what two weeks from now. But, until then, start spreading the damn Prozac around and, if you see Wellwood on the street, could you give him a hug?