Feb 022012
Cody Hodgson, Vancouver Canucks

Photo credit: canucks.nhl.com

When Cody Hodgson scored in Tuesday’s game against the Chicago Blackhawks, it was his 14th goal of the season.

This is significant because not only does it tie him with Ryan Kesler for third among his Canucks teammates in goals (only Daniel Sedin with 22 goals and Alex Burrows with 18 goals have more goals than him) and brings him to within one goal of NHL rookie goal scoring leader, Matt Read (15 goals), but more importantly for the Canucks, it tied the game 2-2, less than 3 minutes after Viktor Stalberg had scored and given Chicago a 2-1 third period lead.

Producing in clutch situations is becoming a theme for Cody this season.

In their second last game before the All-Star break, a game against the Canucks’ Western Conference rivals, the San Jose Sharks, Cody scored twice – one goal to tie the game late in the second period and another goal to win the game late in the third period.

Against the Boston Bruins a couple of weeks before that, Cody recorded an assist to tie the game late in the second period and scored the eventual game-winning goal a minute into the third period.

And a few days before that, again against the Sharks, he had a hand in both goals of a 3-2 shootout loss, including scoring the goal that tied the game midway through the third period and helped the Canucks earn a single point.

Notice the theme?

Consider the following.

Of Cody’s 14 goals this season, 6 either tied the game or gave the Canucks the lead.

Of his 16 assists, half (8) were on goals that tied the game or gave the Canucks the lead.

He’s scored 11 of his 30 points in the third period, including 7 third period goals.

7 of his goals were against the Canucks’ fiercest rivals and potential playoff opponents, the San Jose Sharks (3), Chicago Blackhawks (1), Boston Bruins (1), Detroit Red Wings (1) and Nashville Predators (1).

Coming up big in the most crucial of times is nothing new for Cody. He’s done it his entire career, whether it’s in the OHL, the U-18s or the World Junior Hockey Championships.

He’s proving now that he can do it the NHL level as well.

Jan 312012

[Every week, Clayton Imoo sits down and talks hockey with a CHB follower and fellow fan.  If you're interested in being featured in "Shooting from the Hip", send us a tweet at @canuckshockey or @CanuckClay.]

Born and raised in glorious Vancouver, BC, Lindsay (@causticchick) grew up in a household where being a Canucks fan was only a casual affair. She’s always considered herself a fan, with her love for the team growing especially in the early ’90s leading up to the 1994 cup run, but her true devotion reached a fever pitch in the last five years, mostly due to her involvement in the amazing Canucks community on Twitter. Now she’s gone from casual fan to diehard, and is inconsolable if she has to miss a game, especially if the Calgary Flames are the opposing team. Who doesn’t love to hate the Flames?

When she’s not cheering on the best team in the league, you can usually find Lindsay lounging in her Thuggie, taking pictures and pretending to know something about photography, blogging, studying, tweeting, or making coffee for the good people of Vancouver.

1. Where did the Twitter handle @causticchick come from?

I wish it was Canucks-related, or even a good story, but it’s not. In fact, it’s actually pretty embarrassing. The gist is that I’m a huge dork and, since my presence on the vast interwebs is dense and far-reaching, it was easier just to keep using the name that I’ve been using for five years. In the interest of full disclosure, though, I wrote a blog post about it last year that you can check out here. Feel free to mock and snigger.

2. Henrik on the wing to Daniel down low and back to Henrik. Henrik to the point to Edler. Edler fakes and to the other point to Shea Weber. Kinda has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? What would it take to make this happen in real life?

Sitting at The Five Point on Main Street with some great Canucks fans last week, we threw this topic around. It’s not a secret that the Canucks defence needs a little work; it’s frustrating seeing Luongo taking so much flack from fans and media for having little or no support in his end when the going gets tough. You don’t have to be on the Luongo bandwagon to see that building defence needs to be a priority for this team, especially coming up on the trade deadline. And when our defencemen drop like flies and we have to call the farm, anybody can see that depth at the blue line is what we need.

Ignoring cap rules, because I’m not knowledgeable enough in that area to pretend that I know what I’m talking about, and the fact that he’s a winger, give Raymond to the Preds, but mostly because I’d rather lose him with the way he’s been playing than somebody like Ballard. Ballard’s not the most consistent d-man, but when he’s on, he’s on, and I think he’s proven himself an asset when he’s given the chance. And those sexy hip-checks are nothing to sneeze at! In reality, though, either of them could be up. With Ballard making so much money, trading him could free up cap space to allow somebody like Weber to skate for the Canucks.

But, obviously, what it REALLY comes down to is the hotness factor. Trading Raymond for Weber would up the factor by a million, because MayRay looks twelve and Weber looks amazing with a playoff beard.

3. With the Sedins and Edler on Team Alfredsson going against Team Chara, there were a lot of intriguing plot lines this All-Star weekend: Canucks vs. Bruins, Senators vs. Leafs, all the Swedes on one team, etc. Of all the All-Star festivities, what aspect did you enjoy or were you most interested in?

If you followed me on Twitter on Sunday, you’ll know that I have a certain disdain for the All Star Weekend. While the thought of seeing all these elite players together on the ice at the same time is intriguing, in reality it’s not as impressive with the All Star playing style. I want to see them go balls-to-the-wall, crazy hits and fights, real hustle – you know, actual hockey. The amazing range of skill is lost on the airy-fairy pseudo-hockey that is the All Star Game.

No matter what rivalries there are within the NHL, they’re moot at the All Star level, at least when it comes to the players. I’m sure they could care less about whether they’re there or not, let alone what team they end up on. It’s clear that the teams are chosen to pander to the audience. As @misst0pia said on Twitter, in response to my tweet about Team Chara being totally random, “It’s sort of weird, like they crammed all of the Habs, Leafs, and Bruins onto one team so Ottawa didn’t have to cheer for them.” I think this is spot on. There’s really nothing wrong with any of it, of course, because the All-Star Game is, ultimately, about the fans. It’s important to remember not to take things too seriously, hence my endless mocking of the whole ordeal.

I missed the skills competition because of work, which is a shame because I would have loved to see it. The fancy skating and trick shots are always fun to see and it really showcases some of the skills that make these players so great.

My favourite moment of the game was Hartnell scoring for Team Alfredsson in the first, assisted by both Sedins. “The Sedin triplets score a goal,” quipped a mic’d Hartnell. “Suck it, Phaneuf!” Sometimes I wish players were mic’d during regular games. Can you imagine hearing Lapierre chirp the opposing bench for an entire game? Endlessly entertaining.

When all’s said and done, one thing’s for sure: I could go without hearing The Whip by Locksley for the rest of my life. It seems like the NHL has a boner for that goal song. Also, the post should have gotten first star. There were more pings than the Monty Python Ping Machine.

4. At the All-Star break, which Canucks have exceeded your expectations and which have been most disappointing?

At the beginning of the season, I drafted Cody Hodgson to my fantasy team during an auto-draft situation and I was laughed at by the entire pool. Though I wasn’t entirely convinced by his play last season, I stuck with him, and he’s been one of the best producers of points for Team Gingerbangs and the Canucks. He’s shown that he’s ready to play in the big leagues, being picked as a rookie for Team Chara at the All Star Game, and earning points left and right for the Canucks. He’s developing into a solid player, and that’s a good investment for the Canucks in the long run.

Disappointing? Mason Raymond, as evidenced by his play in the last game before the All Star break against the Oilers. Countless dropped passes, losing his edge and falling down, not being able to skate in a straight line…you can just call him Mason “Hit The Post” Raymond. He’s not producing the way I want him to, the way the Canucks want him to and, probably, the way HE wants him to. MayRay’s got a lot to prove before the trade deadline, because if the organization were to make a move I wouldn’t be surprised to see him on the block. The spin-a-ma-jig in the shoot out can only carry him so far.

To quote @C_Forrest: “The MayRay Hattrick. Open net, missed shot, fall down.”

5. Why should people follow you on Twitter? What can new followers expect?

It’s a personal account, so you really can’t expect anything in particular. I’m inappropriate more often than not, sometimes shocking, sometimes emo, all the time craving poutine. I just tweet A LOT, and you should be prepared for that. Mostly, though, I love talking to people, and meeting those people in real life. The Vancouver Twitter scene puts the social in social media, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Jan 192012

  • If a picture is worth a thousand words, the above video must be worth, well, a lot more than that.
  • With no less than 8 defensemen already on the roster, was Chris Tanev’s call-up yesterday a signal that the Canucks are ready to trade a defenseman? Or does it simply mean that Sami Salo will be out for a longer period of time? Regardless of the reason, I’m sure coaches AV and Bones are happy to have another right-side defenseman in their lineup, rather than having to play every other defenseman other than Dan Hamhuis and Kevin Bieksa on their wrong side.
  • I won’t go as far as calling Salo a Norris Trophy candidate, but there’s certainly no doubting his value and importance to this team now. Without Salo in the lineup, the Canucks are 3-5-1, but more importantly, the Canucks’ defense look out of synch and overwhelmed.
  • Unless Tanev proves he can handle top-4 minutes, I have to think that acquiring another top-4 defenseman would be on top of GM Mike Gillis’ shopping list before the trade deadline. At the start of the season, there was hope that Keith Ballard would be that guy, but between the healthy scratches and high-risk plays, that’s looking less and less likely to happen.
  • Don’t look now, but Cody Hodgson has 12 points (5G-7A) in his last 15 games. Quietly, he’s climbed up to 4th in overall rookie scoring (27 points in 47 games), behind just Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (35 points in 38 games), Adam Henrique (34 points in 40 games) and Matt Read (29 points in 41 games). Yes, he’s played more games than those guys, but he also averages about 5-6 minutes of ice-time per game less than them.
Jan 172012

[Every week, Caylie King looks at the Canucks week that was and the Canucks week ahead.  You can follow Caylie on Twitter (@CayKing).]

Since the epic win against the Bruins, the Canucks are 2-2-0 and haven’t looked like the team that rolled through much of November and December. You can even say they were lucky to win against the Lightning and Blues. In their most recent loss, against the 14th place Anaheim Ducks, the Canucks looked out of synch and were outshot and outhustled most of the night. That said, the great thing about an 82-game season is that the Canucks have every opportunity to right their wrongs and move on from these recent lackluster performances.

Canucks Record

46 GP, 28-15-3, 59 points (1st in Northwest Division, 2nd in Western Conference)

Who’s Hot

Cody Hodgson has made quite the impression by being one of the better and more consistent Canucks on the ice. Since December 11, CoHo has not gone more than 1 game without recording a point. Despite logging an average of 12:44 minutes of ice-time per game, he has 11 points (5G-6A) in his last 14 games (0.79 points/game).

Hodgson is currently tied for 4th in rookie scoring with 26 points (11G-15A) and has a plus-10 rating. Last week, he was selected to participate in the rookie All-Star weekend festivities.

Who’s Not

Chris Higgins has been plagued with a mysterious infection twice already this season. In late December, he missed a few games due to a swollen hand, but ever since his return at the beginning of January, Higgins has struggled to find the scoresheet. In his last 7 games, Higgy has just 1 assist; prior to that, he had 6 points (2G-4A) in his previous 7 games.

Despite this setback, Higgins has recorded 10 goals and 14 assists already this season, and is on pace to exceed the 28 points he recorded all of last season. With David Booth also back in the lineup, the American Express line is back together, and hopefully, they can find the same chemistry they had before Higgy’s and Booth’s injuries, and start producing more consistently again.

Who’s Next

Tuesday, January 17, 2012 vs. Los Angles Kings (7:00 PM start, home)

Only 6 points separate the Canucks and the Kings as they meet for the third time this season. So far, both teams have won one game each in this series. In their last meeting, on New Year’s Eve, the Canucks lost 4-1 to the Kings at Staples Center.

The Kings are 3-4-2 against Northwest opponents so far this season. Both teams have a good penalty-kill; the Kings’ PK is ranked 3rd in the NHL (87.6%) and the Canucks’ PK is ranked 4th in the NHL (86.7%).

Anze Kopitar leads the Kings in goals (14), points (42) and has been their best player against the Canucks. He has 3 points (1G-2A) and a plus-2 rating in their first two meetings. He is currently on a 4-game point streak (3G-3A-6P).

Saturday January 21, 2012 vs. San Jose Sharks (1:00 PM start, home)

With another early afternoon game this Saturday, it’s the perfect time to head down to the Hog Shack for the Canucks Hockey Blog tweetup as the boys take on the dangerous San Jose Sharks.

The Sharks have had a great start to the month of January going 6-1-1 in their first 8 games. They currently lead the Pacific Division; they also sit in 3rd place in the Western Conference, just 4 points back of the Canucks, with 4 games in hand.

The Sharks have played great against the Northwest Division this season. They’ve taken points in 8 of 10 games – a 5-2-3 record – against Northwest Division opponents. This will be the last regular season meeting between the two teams this season.

In three games against the Canucks this season, Patrick Marleau leads the Sharks with 3 points (2G-1A) and about 23 minutes of ice time.

He is also tied with Joe Thornton for the team lead in scoring with 36 points (17G-19A), and is tied for the team lead with 4 powerplay goals with 3 other Sharks (Joe Pavelski, Brent Burns and Ryan Clowe).

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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