Where's the talent?

BARRY MACDONALD -- 24 Hours Vancouver

, Last Updated: 10:19 AM ET

Be careful what you wish for. That was the cautionary tone being set by my colleague Scott Rintoul on the Team 1040 earlier this week, when discussing what the Canucks were, and what they have become.

It was a mere seven months ago when the previous edition had missed the playoffs and were widely panned as the poster boys for underachievement - lots of talent, but a collective lack of marbles and no synergy.

The natives weren't just restless, they were angry. Out with the old, in with the new.

Bye-bye Bert, Anson, Jovo, Jarrko and Crow. Hello Roberto, Willie, Jan, Taylor and Alain.

The results, so far at least, aren't terribly positive. Neither are the reviews.

This year's group does apply elbow grease in much bigger quantities than the '05-06 bunch, but there has been little reward for their commitment.

And inevitably the comparisons have begun. What would you prefer? Underachieving, but more talented? Hardworking, but short on finish?

Listeners were split on the issue when we posed the question yesterday, which reflects a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately attitude.

It is easy to watch what the Canucks of this year are providing, to dwell on the negative and forget how aggravating it was being privy to the fiasco offered up a season ago.

We witnessed the most disappointing season in the history of the franchise, watching a group of athletes lacking the collective will and jam to focus on the big picture. They were a pre-season cup contender that missed the bloody playoffs.

That is the ugly legacy of your 2005-2006 Vancouver Canucks.

Which brings us to the here and now, which doesn't exactly offer up a very pretty picture either. But you can say one thing about this year's team that you couldn't claim a year ago. It works hard.

That's the good news. The flip side, of course, is that their commitment to a blue-collar approach isn't bearing fruit.

But I'm not convinced the system is the problem. I am of the mind that the players within the system aren't good enough to execute it, at least when it comes to putting the biscuit in the basket.

Vancouver has scored two or fewer goals in 14 of its last 16 games. Two teams, two completely different approaches.

If hard work does indeed pay off, then the current vintage of the Canucks might be destined for bigger and better things than what last year's group.

It will be interesting to see how this market embraces a team that might be short on artistic merit, but long on effort. It will probably take a playoff berth for this team to register on the appreciation scale in a market that didn't like what it saw last year, and still isn't sure what it has this time around.

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Barry Macdonald is co-host of BS in the Morning on the Team 1040.


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