Six Helmets

There's never a better time than the present to take stock of our team, and this time, with apologies to Edward de Bono, let's use his tried and true "six hats" technique, designed to help people break out of their ruts and see all sides of an issue.

It's a good way to identify and balance competing issues, such as salary vs cap in the world of the NHL, lest we obsess on one at the expense of another. BTW, although I looked up the link to Mr. De Bono's site, I haven't bothered to re-read any of it, too busy, and am banging away on the keyboard from memory, so all errors are mine alone, of course.

The idea is pretty straightforward. We have 6 hats - helmets in this case! - each of a different color and each representing a different way of looking at things. If you choose to play, you should try all 6. My own contributions are below.

White Helmet: Like a blank sheet of paper, representing information. List the undisputed, relevant facts. This is also the only objective helmet; all others are matters of opinion. If a fact is in dispute, it belongs elsewhere.

The Canucks record is 14-12-0, 10-4-0 at home and 4-8-0 on the road, putting them in 11th place. They have scored 80 goals and allowed 68. They were easily the most-injured team in the league through most of the season but that has changed recently with Demitra and Grabner the remaining "notable" names on LTIR. The team is at or near the cap limit, and Demitra's return in particular would necessitate losing other personnel in return.

Yellow Helmet: Like a sunny day, representing positives.

Ehrhoff, acquired for essentially nothing (woo hoo!), has been the team's best D-man and a wonderful addition to the club. Mason Raymond is turning into a solid scorer. Hank has shown a nice scoring touch of late and is on pace for career best totals in that regard. Bernier is improving on his totals for last year. Goaltending started the year weak, but has been steadily improving as Luongo has settled in, Raycroft has been serviceable, and Cory Schneider in his last outing showed the form that Canucks fans have been waiting for (even if he does end up as trade bait).

Red Helmet: The color of passion, representing feelings, hunches and intuition. Don't try to justify them, that would be counterproductive, just list them. They are feelings, so they are neither right nor wrong, but they matter, and should be neither attacked nor defended.

I am cautiously optimistic but not confident. When the team plays, I get that old "walking on eggshells" feeling, even when they have the lead. Maybe even especially when they have the lead.

Green Helmet: Like a growing shoot, representing creative ideas.

If Welly fails to improve, could Shirok replace him at center? Can we reduce the 4th line's ice-time and go with, essentially, a pair of 2nd lines in order to better take advantage of our depth? Should we trade a top-4 D-man - Bieksa? - for more scoring help?

Our goal differential this year is +10 and yet our record is only +2. Compare that to Calgary who are +8 and +8 respectively, or to Colorado at 0 and +6, and it appears we are giving up too many "big" goals at the wrong time; a result of going into a defensive shell too soon?

Black Helmet: The decisive color, representing critical thinking. As close to allowing "negatives" as this technique will come, but only as part of a constructive criticism offering an alternative, and even then sparingly.

We need to push Welly harder, maybe Bieksa and Edler too, cuz they are all having off-years so far. We need to stop going into such overblown defensive shells when we get the lead. We need to break out of our own zone better.

We have a better than average team, but not an elite squad, and they're not playing to potential. Something - the approach and/or the personnel - has to change if we are to become a contender.

Blue Helmet: Like a limitless blue sky, representing the big picture and how we "think about our thinking." Use this hat to monitor yourselves (normally a moderator would do it but in this case ... yeah, right!)

Keep it civil, stay on topic!

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