<table border=0 width=1000 align=center><tr><td><img src="http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2009/10/oct0209_optimist_blog.jpg" border=0 style="float: left; margin-right: 8px;">According to the Optimist Code, "an optimist shall try their best to find the positive in every situation, regardless of how daunting the task."
In the spirit of this code, I've been challenged by a fellow optimist to take on the curious case of Kyle Wellwood.
Oh boy. This is akin to playing minesweeper on expert. There are red flags everywhere.
From Trailer Park Boys Randy to a fan favourite, Wellwood had quite the first season in Vancouver in 2008-09. He showed up for camp out of shape and was called out for it, he then dropped Big City Cupcakes from number two on his speed dial and got his act together.
The result was a butterfly-eske transformation, one that even surprised Welly himself as he finished the season with 27 points. Some fans were even mistaking Wellwood for one of the most dynamic Canadian players of all time.
<img src="http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2009/11/Welly.jpg" border="0" alt="" hspace="4" vspace="1" align="Right" />Now, not so much.
Even after dropping more weight this off-season and getting ample opportunity to produce with all of Vancouver's injuries earlier this year, Wellwood has been as useful as a flashlight in a horror movie. He's like a drunken text the Canucks wish they could take back.
The numbers are Shakira's hips: Wellwood has one assist for one point in 17 games ranking him 568th in the NHL for points. He's gone nine whole games, or 540 minutes, without finding the scoresheet with no end in sight.
The pride of Windsor, Ontario no more, Wellwood has fallen behind former WWF wrestler Killer Kowalski on the city's list of people who have done stuff. Burn. His bio at town hall has even been changed to read: "Even a broken clock gets it right once and a while. C'mon Kyle." Double burn.
Apparently Apple has been lying all these years because getting Wellwood out his mother-of-all-how-are-you-in-the-NHL-pudding-has-more-consistency slump,
Throughout Wellwood's career, he's collected the most points on Thursdays (28) and Saturdays (44) than any other days and of Vancouver's remaining 61 games, 25 fall on those days. That's a start.
Most people love December because it means the holiday season is among us, Wellwood is a fan of the twelfth month because he has 29 points in December, the most of any month during his career. Now we're talking.
Goals aren't going to score themselves, even if it's a Thursday or Saturday in December, and the first step to Wellwood overcoming his slump is acknowledging his chronic Triggeritis – not to be confused with Pufferotis Triggeritis, a compulsion to build large aquariums to house every kind of pufferfish and triggerfish.
<img src="http://cdn.nhl.com/canucks/images/upload/2009/09/aug0309_wellwddoface3_rr.jpg" border="0" alt="" hspace="4" vspace="1" align="left" />In 17 games Wellwood has only 17 shots on goal, Bruno Gervais of the New York Islanders is the only other NHLer to have as many shots in as many games without scoring. Wellwood is at his best when he puts stick to rubber, as his early career numbers indicate: in 2005-06 he had 45 points and 117 shots and in 2006-07 he had 42 points and 99 shots.
If Wellwood starts pulling the trigger and shooting, I'm optimistic he'll wake up from this nightmare and be back on everyone's holiday shopping list before long, including Alain Vigneault's.
I'm doubly optimistic that for some odd reason, Wellwood will score his first goal of the season on Sunday against the Chicago Blackhawks, a team he's never recorded a point against.
Who is Optimist Prime? He's an eternal Canucks believer whose glass is always half full, even when it's empty.
Throughout the 2009-10 season, Optimist will take a lighthearted look at the Canucks while never losing the faith. It's Cup time baby!