May 112009
 
Apr 282009
 

Cody Hodgson was just named OHL Player of the year.

The other day someone asked, “If given the opportunity, would you trade Hodgson for the first round pick in the 2009 draft?” (Or work a trade that included Hodgson for the first round pick)

As speculation goes there’s a snowballs chance in hell, or Patrick Stefan’s chance at scoring on an empty net breakaway, that John Tavares will not go first overall in the 2009 draft. If it’s not him, it will be Victor Hedman. Tavares amongst the class of 2009 is the standout. There’s likely no one that will match his level of talent and skill in his draft year. But, he’s no Crosby, and looks closer to Stamkos than anything else. He also draws other parallels, they both were stand outs in the World Juniors. Stamkos so far has looked like a bust, maybe Tavares will, maybe he won’t. He’s proved he can be the big fish in the little pond, now let’s see if he can roll with the big boys. He’ll likely go to St. Louis, or Tampa, the usual bottom feeders, but it takes a Crosby level player to affect a cellar dweller team. That’s what Crosby did for the pens, that’s what Stamkos failed to do for the Lightning. But for all those things that they can do, I wouldn’t give up Hodgson for either of them. It’d have to be Gretzky reborn again or the second coming of Trevor Linden for me to give up Hodgson for Tavares or Hedman.

Cody Hodgson isn’t a showstopper, a heart breaker. He’s not a one trick pony and he’s not a selfish player. I’m not saying that the greats are selfish, but when you look at a lot of the greats their shoot to pass ratio is a lot higher. This kid isn’t selfish. He’s selfless. Take a look at his play at the World Juniors. Alongside the best this country has to offer, and the best of the 2009 draft he shone bright. He set a World Juniors record with 16 points, 5 goals and 11 assists. He beat out TSN’s favourite junior John Tavares, and while people like Eberle were getting the spotlight for late game heroics, and Tavares was played over and over again on the highlight reel for his lacrosse antics with a hockey stick, Cody Hodgson was flying under the radar. Maybe flying under the radar isn’t the right term as all of those world juniors were on a public stage. But he wasn’t providing last minute one off heroics. Hodgson was solid at both ends of the ice. Hodgson was timely, Hodgson was clutch.

When the Canucks chose not to give him a shot I admit I was pretty peeved about that. In hindsight though when you look at it the Canucks are preparing Cody for something different. They already have a pre-established plan for him. Sending him back to play with the Battalion is putting him in a pond where he’s not just the big fish, he’s the king fish. He’s going back to a team that is going to look to him when and if times get tough. A team that is going to rely on him to lead them through good and bad. Cody back on the Battalion is gaining a wealth of experience as, yes I’ll say it again, he’s being moulded into Trevor v2.0. There’s nothing wrong with that. This city needs another Captain Vancouver to get teary eyed over. Cody is that guy.

Mike Gillis knows how to play his cards right. Next season if he is able to sign Mats again and is also able to bring back the Sedins you’re going to find that once again Vancouver is extremely deep at center. Hodgson is going to join a group of centers which are amongst the best at what they do, invaluable experience for our future Mr. Canuck. Hodgson has the capability of playing at a second line level very soon. The Canucks have created an environment at the moment which will prove to be enormously helpful to the development of this young talent if the pieces of the puzzle all fit. Hodgson also coming into a situation where he’s surrounded by speed will allow him to play at his level. He’s a playmaker; the World Juniors has proved that. If you place him alongside anyone but Taylor Pyatt this kid is going to produce. So placing him with two wheeling and dealing wingers such as Hansen, Burrows, Raymond or Wellwood is likely to pay dividends soon. Now I may be putting the wagon before the horse here with all this speculation but this kid has proven himself to me early on. Even with his pre-season play at the start of this campaign he made a compelling case to fill a roster spot. Had it not been for the potential arrival of Mats, our superstar center Sedin, Kesler and the fact Johnson had been picked up that summer he might have gotten a shot.

Hodgson is young and has a lot to learn, but it’s becoming clearer and clearer he’s a class act. He’s your Trevor Linden and Joe Sackic all tied into one minus the leaf blower incident. He has me excited as a fan just because of what I hope he’s capable of. He may be a little smaller and lighter than is ideal at this point but the Sedins proved to us they could bulk up and with some work Cody’s NHL level of play will match an NHL size.

While he was sent down and his chance to play at the NHL level postponed, Cody is getting opportunities that are developing him as the future leader of the Canucks. His World Juniors experience was a fantastic demonstration of his growth as a player and just another reason for Canuck fans to get excited. I’m almost positive Hodgson will have a spot in the line up next year and with the budding wealth of talent the Canucks have right now this team is getting younger, faster, and I love every second of it. Cody is coming into an environment with playmaking veteran centers to learn from and if this season’s preseason was anything to go off of Cody is the future of this franchise, now.

So, if given the opportunity, would I trade Hodgson for the first round pick in the 2009 draft? Would you?

Apr 262009
 
Mar 172009
 
Mar 132009
 

My mother-in-law is coming in from Abbotsford and my sister-in-law is coming in from Vernon today to watch the Canucks game with me and Tracy. Both are big Canucks fans, but for whatever reason, Tracy and I have never seen a live Canucks game with either one of them. Needless to say, we’re very much looking forward to tonight.

*****

The Kings are as streaky a team as you’d find these days. They’ve won 3 in a row at home after losing 4 in a row on the road; but just before that, they lost 4 straight home games and won 5 of 6 road games.

Amazingly, the Kings, currently in 13th place in the West, are still in the thick of the playoff race. They’re only 5 points back of 7th place Edmonton and 8th place Dallas, and they have games in hand against every team in 7th to 12th place.

The Canucks are best not to take the Kings lightly. They did on Monday night and it cost them 2 points. I hope they don’t make the same mistake tonight.

*****

Mattias Ohlund’s next point makes him the highest-scoring defenseman in Canucks history. I probably shouldn’t admit this, but I was kinda hoping he would go point-less in the 2-game CA trip so that he could break the record at home. Tonight’s a good night, don’t you think?

*****

I don’t need to remind anyone that the Canucks’ PK sucks as much as Paris Hilton’s movie career. But after allowing 2 PPGA against the Kings on Monday, they killed all 6 Anaheim powerplay opportunities on Wednesday.

Against the Ducks, Mason Raymond took Taylor Pyatt’s place next to Ryan Johnson on the PK. Was Vigneault trying to send a message after Pretty Eyes was on the ice for both of the Kings’ powerplay goals (because publicly calling him out – and Johnson – wasn’t enough)? I don’t know.

What I do know is that those 2 PPGA were the first 2 that Pyatt was on the ice for since March 31st against the Minnesota Wild. That’s a stretch of 16 games where he logged 24:53 minutes of PK ice-time. Considering the team allowed 14 total PPGA during the same stretch, his numbers are actually quite impressive.

(And no, Tracy did not make me write this.)

*****

Back to the Kings for a second.

Tony Gallagher (Vancouver Province) has a good piece on Kings defenseman Drew Dougthy this morning.

The great players in the NHL are not easily impressed when they see a good young player entering the league, usually preferring to wait and see how they do before getting overly excited.

They say all the right things on the record of course, so you read that crap all the time. But what they really think is always kept quiet. But when Rob Blake saw Drew Doughty skating with Kings players in L.A. before heading up to San Jose late last summer, he couldn’t believe his eyes. He went out of his way to bring him up in a quiet conversation earlier this season, saying “This guy is gonna be really good.”

Now that we see him ourselves, we know what he was talking about. Not scheduled to make the Kings for sure this season after being taken No. 2 overall last summer, he’s averaging close to 24 minutes a game and he’ll likely reach many of the bonuses that could see him make upwards of $3.5 million.

Doughty, Jack Johnson, Kyle Quincey and Matt Greene is a pretty damn good – and young – defensive core. That’s on top of Anze Kopitar, Dustin Brown, Oscar Moller and the rest of a pretty damn good – and young – forward group.

This is a going to be a good Kings team in the next year or two.

Mar 122009
 
Jan 052009
 
Dec 312008
 
Nov 272008
 
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