Kyle Wellwood is Loved in Vancouver


Vancouver Canucks forward Kyle Wellwood has gone from zero to hero in a span of roughly five weeks with his new team.

This former Toronto Maple Leaf who was picked up on waivers by Vancouver as a free agent, got off to a nightmarish start when during training camp this 25 year old registered a below average fitness testing mark.

Coach Alain Vigneault didn’t hold back in criticizing Wellwood for his conditioning and eventually sent the free agent acquisition to the American Hockey League.

Wellwood got a second chance on October 21 when management called him up to take the place of the injured Pavol Demitra.

“It would have been my last chance for sure, coming back,” Wellwood who has 7 points in 8 games said. “It was definitely my last chance to play in the NHL for a team if I would have messed it up again.”

In his first game back, Wellwood who is known for his stick handling opened up some eyes when against the Columbus Blue Jackets he notched a goal and an assist.

“Give him credit, he’s worked extremely hard,” said Vigneault who last Tuesday heard the home crowd chant Wellwood’s name after he scored two goals in a 4-0 win against the Nashville Predators. “He’s made the most of his second opportunity.” “We need his production right now to win games and he’s doing it for us.”

Canucks rookie general manger Mike Gillis admitted that picking up Wellwood this past summer was a real gamble that the team thought long and hard about before pulling the trigger.

Originally taken 134th overall by the Leafs last season Wellwood who had only 21 points last season and a –12 rating admits that he was happy to leave Toronto in the off season and is relishing his opportunity to perform on the west coast.

“I’m playing well right now,” he said. “I have been feeling better on the ice.” “I am looking forward to playing the games.”