There are undoubtedly a number of Canucks’ fans that collectively rolled their eyes when Leafs’ castoff Kyle Wellwood was claimed off waivers yesterday. The undersized, playmaking centre has struggled to stay healthy over the past two seasons and hasn’t produced the point totals many expected of him at the NHL level.
That sounds like the description Brendan Morrison has often received in this city, and it appears as though Mike Gillis is simply replacing Morrison with a younger, cheaper model. That theory is consistent with Gillis’ “Moneyball” approach, which is an adaptation of the philosophy detailed in Michael Lewis’ 2003 book that chronicles Billy Beane and the Oakland Athletics.
Though there’s not enough room in this column to explain the entire philosophy —one part of the approach involves acquiring talented players whose lack of success may be a direct result of not being in the right situation. Translation: Gillis may believe that Wellwood can be next season’s Anson Carter, a player whose production will drastically exceed his financial compensation.
>> Tonight’s season opening tilt between the Lions and Stampeders has already sparked a war of words.
Wally Buono has publicly criticized Calgary counterpart John Hufnagel for closing practices to the media this week. Buono is unable to do the same because the Lions’ practice facility in Surrey doesn’t allow it, and he’s calling Hufnagel’s cloak-and-dagger act a competitive advantage.
Hufnagel, who happens to be Buono’s former offensive co-ordinator, isn’t hiding the fact that the veil of secrecy is simply a way to prevent Buono and company from knowing who the Stamps’ starters are. As a member of the media, I condemn the closure simply because the CFL needs as much exposure as it can get and preventing reporters from accessing the product they’re covering is detrimental. That said, if it only happens this week and it creates a little more animosity between the two teams tabbed as the best in the West, bring it on. If the Leos are leading late in the game, it will be interesting if Buono decides to run up the score in order to make a point to his former understudy.
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– How to make a Scott Rintoul: Mix equal parts college athlete, sports fan and broadcaster. Shake vigorously.