Monday, April 12, 2010

Is Kyle Wellwood our X-Man?

The playoffs are a funny time of year for stats junkies. As the checking tightens up and the regular season room the superstars are used to suddenly disappears, third and fourth-line guys suddenly sprout wings and make angelic contributions. Max Talbot, scorer of the last Stanley Cup Game 7 game-winner, comes to mind.

In truth, here's what's really going on: anybody can have a good game on the statsheet. Great players do it consistently over an 82-game schedule. But, in the playoffs, since we're not looking at a very large sample space, suddenly anybody plugger can look like a superstar with a couple of lucky bounces and the additional space left for him after both defensemen force the marquee guy into the end boards. And, since it's a total crapshoot, leave it to the experts to try and predict which players will become these guys. It's funny to follow. They usually base their predictions on who did it last year. Which is why Kyle Wellwood, who was so good in last year's playoffs, is suspected of being the guy this year.

He’s not big, he’s not physical, he’s often been in the coach’s doghouse and he can be invisible for long stretches. But Kyle Wellwood also has a sublime skill set, his hockey sense is second to none and he proved in last year’s playoffs that he can elevate his play and be a responsible, two-way performer.

After coming to camp in the best shape of his career, the undersized Wellwood had a rough first half, not scoring his first goal of the season until Game 20. Fortunately, he’s woken up and has collected seven goals since the Olympics. Vancouver ‘s secondary scoring gets a big boost of Wellwood finds his groove. (The West's Playoff X-Men, Sam McCaig)

Is Kyle Wellwood an X-man? On the surface, it makes sense. Wellwood has crazy skill and huge dangles, but he never seems particularly thrilled with his gifts. Like a mutant. Beneath the surface, the jury's still out on whether or not Kyle Wellwood reads comics at all, especially since he's got an affinity for early-period Ayn Rand. Hmm. Actually, after following that link, the jury's in. He likes the Batman movies (all of them?), so he likes comic movie adaptations at least. But Batman's DC. The X-Men are Marvel. The jury's back out.

Kyle Wellwood, you're such an enigma.


  1. I would argue that the DC/Marvel split in the fanbase is not as pronounced now as it once was. Being a Batman fan no longer directly implies that you do not like the X-Men.

    But, given Kyle Wellwood's performance last playoffs and his progression post-Olympics, he could certainly be the Canucks' Outsider (to use a more obscure comic reference).

  2. I'm going to say that, if Kyle Wellwood is anybody from the Marvel universe, it's either The Blob, for obvious reasons, or The Invisible Woman, for his ability to disappear during long stretches. That was a double pun, by the way, because Mr. Fantastic can stretch.

    I didn't say it was a good double pun.


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