Jan 072012
 
Cody Hodgson, Vancouver Canucks

Photo credit: canucks.nhl.com

It was about as heated as everyone anticipated; the Vancouver Canucks showed their disdain for the Boston Bruins and vice-versa. Neither team was willing to let the other off the hook so easily, but at the end of the day it was Vancouver eking out the 4-3 victory and coming away with the two points, just like they hoped.

But beyond just the brawls and powerplay prowess, it was two of Vancouver’s most tradeable assets who truly shined in this heated affair. Cody Hodgson had an assist and blasted home the eventual game-winning goal in just 11:19 of ice time, while Cory Schneider made 36 saves in the win.

Neither Hodgson or Schneider were given the chance to be difference makers during last year’s Stanley Cup Final. Hodgson played in the San Jose and Nashville series, but didn’t see a shred of the ice in the last round, while Schneider’s only playing time was when the games were well out of hand.

Isn’t it funny that when that brass ring presented itself today in Boston, both young players stepped up and seized it?

Over the course of this season, Hodgson has shown more and more improvement and you might even be able to make the argument he’s been Vancouver’s most consistent player from start to finish. That’s what the organization hoped he could be; the young spark that could rejuvenate a team still recovering from a mentally and physically-draining playoff. Ditto for Schneider, whose increased workload and sensational performances this year has turned him into one of the NHL’s most coveted goalies on the trade market.

There’s been a lot of talk about trading both players for talent that can help Vancouver win now, but with all due respect to them (I also find myself in this crowd of people at times), Hodgson and Schneider both played big roles in a victory over the defending Stanley Cup champions.

Who’s to say that Hodgson and Schneider can’t help this team win now? The Canucks’ epic 4-3 victory over the Bruins just showed that you’re never too young to make a difference, and you’re not too inexperienced to shine on a big stage.

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