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Photo Credit: Matthew Henderson

Roundtable: Mediocrity

It’s the word that’s on everyone’s minds. With the Canucks currently vying for the final wildcard spot, there’s been some discussion as to the team’s overall quality. So, it’s time for you all to have your say. Are the Canucks mediocre? Why or why not?

Everyone knows where I stand, so I’ll leave you all to it. I’m sure this question will not ruffle any feathers.

Stephan Roget

I think one of the reasons that the notion of the Canucks being mediocre rattled so many cages is because the word essentially has two definitions. When it’s used to describe something relatively unimportant, it means something along the lines of “average,” “run-of-the-mill,” or “adequate.” When it’s being used in relation to something of importance, however, mediocre usually means “just barely good enough” or even “not good enough.”
To use an analogy, I would probably buy a mediocre printer – but I would not want to cross a mediocre bridge.
And since we’re talking about hockey, a relatively unimportant and non-serious thing in the grand scheme of things, it’s definitely a defendable position to state that the Canucks are mediocre. As of this writing, they sit 15th overall in league standings – exactly at the halfway mark. They are, by definition, about average in terms of their success so far this season, and if they do end up making the playoffs it’ll probably be by the skin of their teeth – an adequate performance, one might say.
All that being said, the Canucks are decidedly above average in a number of areas. Sorting the NHL standings by goal differential bumps Vancouver into the top ten, and many individual players are greatly outperforming expectations. With their young and talented core, the Canucks excel in a few key areas – skating, stickhandling, and offensive vision – that happen to correspond well with fan enjoyment and entertainment.
What I’m really trying to say is, it’s perfectly alright and understandable to be excited about the current edition of the Canucks, and to get hyped up about the team into which they appear to be developing. It’s also perfectly alright and understandable to see the steps the team still needs to take in order to truly compete in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and to point out those flaws, and, yes, even to describe the team as mediocre.
It’s not the word I would use, but it’s hardly the incendiary opinion some made it out to be.
And all words are made up, anyway.

Ryan Hank

Sure. I think they’re mediocre. Are they world beaters? No! Are they basement dwelling bottom feeders? No. They lose games they should have won, they win close games where they probably could have amounted to more, they go through losing streaks longer than three games and they haven’t proven they’re a team to beat. The 2011 team wasn’t mediocre. They were the bar you measured yourself against. This team is struggling to get to that bar.
They might not even make the playoffs.
If you’re an actual, realistic fan of the Canucks, the term “mediocre” shouldn’t even faze you. This team has been great only a handful of times. They’ve been mediocre way more than they’ve been great.

Michael Wagar

Based on the contrasting versions of this team that we have seen so far and their place in the standings, which shows them as a playoff bubble team, I’m comfortable classifying them as mediocre. 5 on 5 xG (expected goals) share is the stat that serves as one of the better indicators of future performance and the Canucks rank 13th with a 50.88% share. Considering the lack of success in the past 4 seasons, mediocre isn’t necessarily a bad thing for a team driven by such a young core. In fact, in a league where over half the teams make the postseason, being mediocre usually gives you a decent chance at making it. The team is finally average! Embrace it!

David Quadrelli

Once I finished putting on my size 14 shoes, red nose, and put the final touches on the bright red makeup around my eyes, I took a moment to really ponder this question. I think the answer depends almost entirely what you define as mediocre. To me, mediocre means not great, but not bad. My pocket thesaurus from the 70’s (thanks Grandpa) suggests that some synonyms for the word mediocre are average, middle, neutral. I would argue that right now, the Canucks, who sit in the middle of the league, are an average (or mediocre) team who once healthy are capable of doing great things. They’ve got a plethora of young talent, and while the team right now is indeed mediocre, it’s only going to go up from here.