Karate, diamonds, and Cody Hodgson

In an old Legion of Super-Heroes comic, a group of super-villains known as the Fatal Five sets a trap for the 31st-century teenage heroes that teleports each of them to a prison specifically designed to counteract their specific powers. Val Armorr, the master of martial arts known as Karate Kid, is teleported inside a giant, hollow diamond, which is too hard for him to break with his precise blows.

Knowing that even the most beautiful and finely cut diamond will have a flaw, and reasoning that a giant diamond will have a flaw large enough to be seen with the naked eye, he searches the inside of his prison and locates it. As his oxygen is running out, he uses the discipline of his martial arts training to focus and draw upon all of his strength for one final blow, striking the natural weak point of the diamond, shattering it and escaping.

It’s a metaphor, you see.

The Vancouver Canucks, sparkling on top of the NHL standings, are the diamond. The Canucks’ playoff opponents, who will be analysing the Canucks in great detail, looking for one fatal flaw to attack, are Karate Kid.

Prior to the trade deadline, the Canucks looked like a very good team. Many Canucks fans were under the impression that they were a flawless diamond or that if they had any flaws, they were minor and could be easily fixed with a simple trade or two. Mike Gillis and his staff, however, looked at the diamond and, like Val Armorr, apparently found a big, visible flaw. A flaw that he knew other teams would attack, potentially shattering the diamond that he spent so much time cutting, crafting, and polishing.

And Gillis knew that flaw was large enough to view with the naked eye. It’s a simple flaw: Cody Hodgson’s line was not capable of going up against tough competition. In the playoffs, the Canucks’ opponents would work to send their best players out again and again against Hodgson, attacking the Canucks’ third line with their offensive stars.

It seems to me that the Canucks were hoping that Hodgson would develop quickly into the type of player who could handle tough competition and anchor a scoring line that could also be responsible defensively. They didn’t need Hodgson to be a true checking center, but they needed him to be able to handle himself when he ended up head-to-head with the best the NHL has to offer. That situation would inevitably come up.

Christian Petersen, Getty Images

Unfortunately, despite facing some of the weakest competition on the team and rarely starting in the defensive zone, Hodgson was barely keeping his head above water when it came to possession. As good as Hodgson was performing for the Canucks offensively at times, and as much as the potential was there, he simply wasn’t good enough this season defensively.

This is what necessitated the acquisition of Sami Pahlsson, who is the polar opposite of Cody Hodgson. Pahlsson is a veteran, defensively-minded, checking-line centre, while Hodgson is a rookie, offensively minded, scoring centre. Combined with defensively responsible forwards like Jannik Hansen, Chris Higgins, and/or Mason Raymond, Pahlsson converts the third line back into the checking line it was last season when it was centred by one of Manny Malhotra or Maxim Lapierre.

The best part is, the Canucks still have Manny Malhotra and Maxim Lapierre, only they are now playing on the fourth line. Post-trade deadline, half of the Canucks’ bottom-six is composed of some of the best defensive centres in the NHL.

Now where is the flaw in the diamond? What line do the Canucks’ opponents attack? Last season, that flaw was the fourth line, to the point that Alain Vigneault simply could not put them on the ice with any regularity and wound up stapling them to the bench during the Stanley Cup Final despite desperately needing fresh bodies. Now opponents can’t send the top line out against the Sedins, because the Sedins will be starting in the offensive zone and cycling it for the entire shift. The second line is centred by last year’s Selke trophy winner. The third line is the checking line, the one that Vigneault wants to play against the opponents’ top line. And the fourth line provides no relief.

The question still remains, then: why did Mike Gillis trade away Cody Hodgson? Hodgson could still have played a smaller role with the team or been kept as insurance in case of injuries to the top lines. People have claimed the Hodgson trade was about the future, not the present, but I don’t think that’s true. I think Hodgson was traded primarily to improve the team in the short-term.

Hodgson wasn’t able to perform as a winger, which meant he wasn’t going to be able to fill an offensive role with the team. He wasn’t going to be the third-line centre, as Pahlsson made that line much tougher to play against. The problem then is that Hodgson isn’t suited for any other roles.

Andy Marlin, Getty Images

The Hodgson trade was immediately criticized by Canucks fans as it was seen as a step backward this season, when the Canucks are in contention for the Stanley Cup. Trading for a younger, unproven prospect and a defenceman who doesn’t seem to fill an immediate need (ie. a right-handed top-four defenceman) didn’t seem like the type of move that a team like the Canucks should make.

But if Hodgson wasn’t going to fill a major role with the team in the playoffs, then trading him at the height of his value makes sense. In the short-term, Zack Kassian can play on the fourth line, and Marc-Andre Gragnani provides the kind of puck-moving depth that the Canucks didn’t have prior to the deadline. For this season, the Canucks appear to be an improved team.

All of the risk is long-term risk. Where the Hodgson trade initially seems like selling the present in favour of the future, it is actually the opposite. Hodgson does seem to be the more sure thing as a prospect in the future, though Kassian has a high ceiling as a prospect and Gragnani has potential as well. Short-term, the trade actually benefits the Canucks.

Long-term, time will only tell.

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144 comments

  1. Lortimer
    February 29, 2012

    Your comments are off base and simply reinforce the ‘message’ sent out by the team.
    Check the relative Q o C numbers at behind the net for the Canucks last playoffs.

    we had a very successful checking line – Hansen, Lapierre,Torres faced the toughest comp.
    and excelled defensively – I believe they ere only on the ice for two even strength goals.

    Conversely, the Sedins, with their usual soft minutes and ozone starts, couldn’t get it done
    at even strength.

    Clearly from this analysis one sees that Getting Paulson – is a redundant move with no offensive upside.I have pointed out that A. Vermette would have been a far better pickup.

    The problem WASN”T one of goal prevention, it was goal scoring! only 2.45 GF in the playoffs.

    Hodgsons benefit on the 2nd or 1st powerplay will also be missed.

    The fact is that scoring in the playoffs is a different skill set. One that AV and the Sedins hasyet to figure out.

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    • Jon
      February 29, 2012

      To say that the Canuck`s problem in the playoffs was that they couldn`t score is only looking at the surface of the problem. It`s not that we were the goal-starved predators who lacked the ability to score. No, we were the highest scoring team in the league. Our problem was that somehow, we just couldn`t get any momentum, not to mention that Tim Thomas was god-like. The deeper causes of this have been deeply pondered, and I am not sure which of these explanations I subscribe to. I am just sick of hearing that all we had to do was score more goals.

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      Rating: +38 (from 40 votes)
      • Locky
        February 29, 2012

        We certainly were the highest scoring team in the regular season. Expecting that to carry into the playoffs was a bit of a mistake I think, as last year showed. I agree with the premise that the primary reason we lost to Boston and struggled against Nashville was a lack of scoring depth

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    • akidd
      February 29, 2012

      and they thumb you down, lortimer. this church is a pretty tight group.

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      Rating: +3 (from 9 votes)
    • I'mjustsuggesting
      February 29, 2012

      I agree with you. Those who know nothing about numbers and advanced stats will disagree, but, well that’s cause they can’t understand.

      The 3rd line last season was really only reason Canucks advanced far in the playoffs. With all the injuries etc etc, they stepped up, took all the tough minutes and chipped in offensively. The 3rd line this yr, I believe, will have similar success.

      The x-factor this yr is the 4th line. Canucks actually have a 4th line this yr that can play 8-10 mins a night. Last yr, Canucks top players were playing on average 2 more min TOI a night in the playoffs cause there was no 4th line. Bostons top players were playing on average 30 sec more a night in the playoffs (other than Marchand) cause they had a 4th line. And we saw that they were a healthy team in the SCF (other than Horton).

      Kesler/Sedins are having rough a rough season (to say the least). They are going to need to pick it up offensively or Canucks are doomed.

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    • Locky
      February 29, 2012

      I tend to agree. I think a major problem now is that we are stuck with 2 scoring & 2 checking lines no matter what happens. We now have 3 centres who’s primary role is a defensive one. I also think this burns us a bit away from home. If we face a situation where the Sedins and Kesler cannot get the matchup we want (Nashville with Weber-Suter and now Gill springs to mind) then we do not have the option to deploy and offensively-minded 3rd line against a team’s bottom pair.

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    • John in Marpole
      March 1, 2012

      The reason for the low goals for – especially in the SCF, was that the offensive stars were either hurt/beat up, or being intimidated by physical play. The reality of the playoffs is that the physical factor ramps up by several magnitudes. Until this trade was made, the Canucks were incapable of dealing with that fact.

      Bringing in a player that counters the physical realities of the playoffs, and has skills, is *exactly* the right thing to do.

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  2. Cathylu
    February 29, 2012

    The whole problem with this trade talk is that no one has a crystal ball and can see into the future. We all know that any player can sustain an injury and be out for the rest of the season and it can happen in a nano-second. I think we have a great team and a great coach. We will make the playoffs. Then things will get interesting.

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  3. JDM
    February 29, 2012

    This is pretty apologist. Even if I accept your basic premise – that Cody was the weakness that opponents in the playoffs would attack – the trade is still nonsensical to me. This is because I don’t agree that Gragnani and Kassian are, at this point, a bigger boon for the Canucks than Hodgson would be as a depth forward. I mean, first, I think the weakness opponents will exploit is the soft defensive depth – when you get forecheck pressure on some of these guys mistakes are made. But even so, Cody provided insurance against injuries to offensive-minded players. Essentially, if Malhotra went down that was fine because we’d have Lapierre to play centre. Right now, what happens if Kesler goes down? I think the answer is we have Lapierre to play centre. That’s not a very good option. Cody wouldn’t have made up for Kesler but he could slot in there if the situation arose where Kesler got hurt again (see: pretty much every playoffs) and that was demonstrated by the fact that the two seemed to be interchangeable as to who was playing with what wingers.

    I agree that Pahlsson was a much-desired upgrade to our defensive depth that will make our third line harder to play against. I do not agree that the Hodgson trade needed to happen subsequent to that in order for the pieces to fall into place. We would have been a better team this year, in my view, with Pahlsson and Hodgson than with Pahlsson, Kassian and Gragnani.

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    • Frank Nelissen
      February 29, 2012

      I agree with you JDM. The Pahlsson trade was a great one to add defensive depth to our line-up. After that the GM should have done nothing. Trading away our offensive insurance for the centre position is a baffling one. Some of my buddies said that Hodgson would not be able to replace Henrik or Kesler anyway (which I disagree with), but what options do we have now!?
      I could even even have imagined a scenario where Hodgson would be exclusively dressed for home games where Vigneault would have the last change.
      Worst of all I find the lack of offensive depth on our team. Being able to have a scoring 3rd line would have been huge. Last night already hurt my eyes. All the team did was sit on the lead and try to grind it out. I rather see them try to add another goal to the lead!
      Anyway, let me ask you this. How will we out-grind teams that are solely build for grinding, whereas we are build for an offensive type of hockey?

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      • JDM
        February 29, 2012

        No one can replace Henrik or Kesler. The Blackhawks are in trouble because they don’t have anyone who can replace Toews, who is having injury difficulty, in that Bolland can’t play that role. The point isn’t “well Cody isn’t Henrik so if he has to step up we’re screwed”. Injuries happen, and when they do, what are our options? Cody, for me, provided a lot more options than Zack Kassian does this year.

        This isn’t the apocalypse, like I said, no one can replace Henrik or Kesler and that’s a good thing, not a bad thing. Most teams do not have two centres like that. In addition to them, we have three, not two but THREE, excellent defensive centres. We still have great forward depth. We go into the playoffs as a front-line contender. The roof isn’t caving in. And it’s entirely possible that Kassian sticks with the big club and scores the cup winning goal. Who knows. If he’s a difference-maker in the playoffs this looks like a good trade.

        From the perspective of right now, though, I think two things. First, I think keeping Cody, taking into account all of the above as WELL as room chemistry, was the better option in terms of what each has the potential to give us in the postseason. Second, I think if you WERE going to trade the guy, the guys they got in RETURN for him didn’t make sense. If you’re going to do it, do it – get a bigger guy who may not have upside but has experience and has proved he can score in the NHL right now, or get a reliable right-side defenseman. Address the team’s immediate needs. That’s a legitimate opinion. It might end up being wrong if Kassian becomes Bertuzzi in a couple of years, but right now I think it’s hard to argue that the point isn’t legitimate.

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        • J21
          February 29, 2012

          Have to agree somewhat with JDM here. If the trade was a shocker, but resulted in a realiable right-side D-man, OK, then. The struck while the iron was hot. The fact that Gragnani was the one coming back makes it a real head-scratcher for me, quite apart from Kassian.

          I also don’t really buy that Hodgson is “terrible” on the wing. I think this is more fan hyperbole than anything. What did he do that was so terrible, exactly?

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          • JDM
            February 29, 2012

            If you’d told me before the deadline that we were going to trade Hodgson to Buffalo, I would have thought,”Wow, well done Gillis, way to evaluate what the Sabres needed and use it to extract a player who might be the key to a cup run – I hope you didn’t have to give up much else besides Cody when you acquired Tyler Myers”.

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            • akidd
              February 29, 2012

              exactly, jdm.

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  4. bergberg
    February 29, 2012

    I completely agree with you.

    Smart asset management by Gillis. How many people were calling for Hodgson to be traded at this time last year, when we wouldn’t have gotten nearly the same return for him? This year, Hodgson’s skillset became visible to the rest of the NHL. He also became more visible to Canuck’s fans (who have heard rumours of this coming messiah for what seems like ages)- hence why people got more attached to him. But Gillis’ concern is not Canuck fans attachment to players, it’s getting a return for his investment and structuring an effective hokey club. So Gillis traded him, and I think he got two great investments in return and balanced the Canucks improving their chances for this season, and for several seasons to come. How many of the people calling to ship Hodgson out of town last year are lamenting his loss this year?

    As a person, I liked Hodgson a lot. But as a player, I see why he was expendable to the Canucks. He’s still a great player, and I wish him the best, but lets move on people. We still have an exciting team that’s in contention for the Stanley Cup. Now is the time for us to rally around them!

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    • madwag
      February 29, 2012

      as long as he (gillis) didn’t create a “hokey” club. it would be nice if one could edit one’s comments.

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      • bergberg
        March 1, 2012

        hokey pokey?

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  5. James W.
    February 29, 2012

    I agree with this analysis, however, I wonder how many GMs knew that Hodgson was available. No disrepect meant towards Kassian and Gragnani, but I feel that Cody might have been able to get a bigger return. I wonder if Gillis & Co. only knocked on a few doors about a few players, rather than letting the offers come to him.

    Did the Canucks need another Power Forward prospect? Absolutely. Did they need another puck moving defenceman? Probably. However, I still can’t help thinking that we’d have been better off getting a quality defenceman to play with Edler when Salo gets hurt, and a winger who is a little more proven. I think that would have helped out more now.

    Sure, this trade could end up being great for us, as Hodgson was never going to flourish as a 3rd line center, but I can’t help to think that there was another possible move out there that would have been better for us NOW. We’re so close to a cup now, that if Hodgson was the piece that had to move to make it happen, it’s worth it. It’s just that I think the deal we got isn’t as big of a boost as we could have gotten.

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    • Anonymous
      February 29, 2012

      TSN said other GMs didn’t know Hodgson was available. Baffling to me that Gillis did this honestly. I know he’s high on Kassian but the fact that he didn’t shop Hodgson around for our greatest weakness, which is our defense, really confuses me. Great defense is one of the biggest things about cup winning teams. I look at our D line up and it honestly frightens me. Not in a good way.

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      • Rish
        March 1, 2012

        Our Defense frightens you?!

        Bieksa-Hamhuis
        Edler-Salo

        Most playoff teams would kill for that top 4.

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  6. Chris
    February 29, 2012

    You need to stop fixating on that Abdelkader play for the thousandth time. Like most young players who come up as offensive stars, the defensive side takes some work. But you can learn defence, whereas scoring and playmaking require innate skill and hockey smarts which can’t be learned. Having Pahlsson for a couple of months is NOT a good reason to give up on Hodgson for 10 years. And Cody’s offensive ability and superior future potential far exceed anything Stojano…I mean Kassian brings to the table.

    A team in 1st place dumped a key contributor to getting them to first place

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    • bergberg
      February 29, 2012

      But Chris, I disagree that Hodgson was a KEY contributor to their success. A contributor, certainly. But there is no reason why they will not be successful without him.

      You also speak of Kassian without knowing much about him. Gillis has said he was looking at drafting Kassian in 2009, but he was already gone by the time the Canucks got their pick. You can bet they’ve had an eye on him ever since. I believe AV has even coached him before. They are far more qualified to assess what Kassian will bring to the team.

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    • akidd
      February 29, 2012

      they focus on the abdelkader because it’s the only defensive lapse they can come up with even though it was mostly rome’s fault and came seconds after cody scored the tying goal with some nice patience with the puck.

      apparently coho was bad at the defense. but we’ll have to take their word on that because he never got a chance to prove himself in defensive situations.

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  7. Prophet
    February 29, 2012

    When’s the last time Hodgson threw five hits in a game and was effective on a fourth line checking role?

    Lortimer: The reason why the the Canucks scored 2.45 GF in the playoffs was because the OTHER team had brutes like Kassian physically wearing down and finally seriously injuring our goal scorers by the final round. Cody would likely have been pretty beat up (if still playing) by the final round given his size and speed. There aren’t too many “pretty plays” in the final round street brawl and we’re not going to get any powerplays if we’re up against the Rangers or Bruins again. In the playoffs last year, we didn’t need a one more Sedin, we needed one less Marchand and one more Lucic.

    We got enough mages in our army, we need a barbarian especially because we know the size of the Eastern team making it to the SCF is not going to be a “finesse” team.

    GMMG seems to have learned from past mistakes, why can’t the fans? And why can’t those same fnas remember what they actually wanted last July and what has been delivered in Booth and Kassian this year?

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    • Mark Ragnar
      February 29, 2012

      I think we needed one less Thomas, one less Chara, and/or one less injury. Or better yet, one more win!

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    • Lortimer
      February 29, 2012

      2 for 32 on the power play in the finals…duh?
      Hodgson on the powerplay improves this….

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      • bergberg
        February 29, 2012

        Hodgson is not the only solution to the second unit powerplay. Especially with all the new additions we have.

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        • Lenny
          February 29, 2012

          But Cody is… I mean, was, or would’ve been, a fairly good solution to our PP. Better than Pahlsson and probably Raymond.

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        • bergberg
          February 29, 2012

          But our powerplay hasn’t been very successful lately, even with Cody….

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          • Lenny
            February 29, 2012

            And getting rid of Cody will make it better how?

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      • Johnny B Goode
        February 29, 2012

        The faltering powerplay comes down to teams catching up to Newell Brown’s tactics, which were dynamite last year, but have been figured out by now. It’s time to shred the playbook and do something completely different, lest the Canucks get Ovechkin’d.

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  8. Mark Ragnar
    February 29, 2012

    This allows the Sedins and the Kesler line to get some more of those “soft” minutes that were previously given to the 3rd line. It also allows Jannik Hansen to get back to where he once belonged.

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    • Lortimer
      February 29, 2012

      Mark you neglect to look at past history…

      the Sedins were given the softest minutes throughout the playoffs (according to Q o C stats at bejindthenet.ca) and they couldnt deliver…

      this lack of production from our best players was and will be the reason for our playoff failures..

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      Rating: +8 (from 10 votes)
    • Lenny
      February 29, 2012

      We don’t know if Pahlsson can shut down the Toews, Thorntons and Datsyuks of the west yet. If not, we are back to square one with Kesler doing all the top line shutdown work. But the fact that Detroit had also wanted Pahlsson made me feel better about it haha!

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      • Shade of Blue
        February 29, 2012

        What?! Pahlsson isn’t likely to add much in the way of offense, but there is no reason to doubt his ability to shut down the best in the west. He was simply spectacular in that role when the Ducks won the cup in 2007.

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        • Lenny
          February 29, 2012

          Shade that was 5 years ago.

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  9. Warpstone
    February 29, 2012

    YES! Thanks Daniel, this is exactly the point I’ve been trying to make to my fellow hysterical Canucks fans.

    Playoff hockey is different than the regular season. Obvious, right? Say it again then if you still think Hodgson was going to be as useful after April.

    Playoff hockey has less space, more double-shifting and basically takes many technique-first players out of the equation becuase referees are busy swallowing their whistles. You can compensate with size and speed, but only the most phenomenal players have enough pure skill to compete at the same level when the game changes (hint: Cody isn’t there yet).

    Cody has an awesome shot for a rookie. But he’s not fast, he’s not big and he does not have an overwhelming amount of technique to compensate for these shortcomings in the same that most other successful playoff forwards do. His shot would hardly ever get a chance to uncork in the playoffs.

    He’s not a third-liner and while it’s nice to have secondary scoring from his line, you know what’s even better? Having scoring from Kesler’s line becuase they don’t have to be deployed in circumstances where a 3rd line really should be.

    You want to know why Hodgson’s seconday scoring doesn’t matter? It’s because the Canucks top two lines matter more. The burden of playing top opponents should be on the 3rd line and no amount of secondary scoring on a third line is going to compensate for this in the playoffs.

    Look, if the playoffs were governed by the exact same rules as the regular season, then fair enough, Cody should stay. But they’re not. So let’s be realistic and realize that the Canucks do not need gimmicky lines to eke out playoff wins. They’re an offensively gifted team. They needed their defensive and physical games shored up in order to compete against other teams that will shorten their benches to keep up. Hodgson was a nice luxury, but the reality is that he was the most expendable ingredient in MG and AV’s playoff toolset.

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  10. Lenny
    February 29, 2012

    So much of this depends on whether Kassian can play second line, or better, minutes. From last night’s game, it looks as though AV is keen on setting Pahlsson, Hansen and Higgins to anchor the 3rd line, which in my opinion is a general upgrade over Lapierre, Hansen and Torres. For the next 10 games or so AV will audition Kassian for top 9 minutes. What a blessing it will be if he can hack it, but if he can’t….

    While we all wanted a barbarian to play for us, NONE of us was prepared to give up Cody for him. The reason why Cody has been able to play soft minutes is because most teams in the League do not have enough depth to ice ‘tough minutes’ against us for 50 minutes. They spend their best minutes against the Sedins and Kesler, so naturally they are not prepared to deal with a potent 3rd line scoring threat.

    For the last 8 months we have been hearing from Canucks management, and some writers, PITB in particular, that ‘it’s scoring depth, not toughness that costed us the Stanley Cup’. I agreed. Now everyone is pulling a 180. Apparently it was toughness after all. PITB a little while ago called Cody the ‘lynchpin’ to our new found scoring depth. Now PITB tells us Cody is expandable. So which one is it?

    Come to think of it, PITB is almost never critical of the Canucks’ management team….

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    • bergberg
      February 29, 2012

      But Lenny, I think you are the one buying into a narrative. You seem to think it is either scoring depth or toughness. The two are not mutually exclusive. The reason Boston is so successful (even though it hurts me to speak kindly of them) is that they have both.

      Hodgson gave us scoring depth, he did not give us defensive depth (meaning he was not defensively responsible, I know he’s not a defenceman), and he did not give us toughness.

      Gillis has given us both defensive depth (a much stronger checking line) and toughness (obviously Kassian brings this to the table) with a strong potential for continued scoring depth. Hodgson was not the only secondary scorer on the Canucks. We still have many of them. Plus if Kassian can develop his offensive game quickly, that is an added bonus. Even Pahlsson registered shots on net last night. In the end, this is a much more rounded and reasoned plan then trying to stick it out with Cody Hodgson.

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      • Lenny
        February 29, 2012

        You make a lot of sense here, except now Higgins’ and Hansen’s effectiveness as secondary scoring has greatly diminished without Cody, I think. How offensive will that line be with Pahlsson? I don’t know. Only time will tell.

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        • stathead
          February 29, 2012

          I think Higgins and Hansen would get hurt feelings if they read this comment. Poor guys… they are nothing without Cody. ?

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    • bergberg
      February 29, 2012

      Plus, hindsight is 20/20. You can’t blame PITB for making a reasoned analysis of the Canucks success this year, which certainly did involve the emergence of Cody Hodgson, and then for seeing another approach to success in the analysis of Gillis’ decision at the deadline. They weren’t wrong in their analysis before, and they aren’t wrong now.

      To say “I choose this side” and then stick with it regardless of what logic and reason tell you is silly. Whether it be hockey, politics, or anything else. PITB is more rational then that.

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    • Harrison Mooney
      February 29, 2012

      Early in the season, we felt that Hodgson was the lynchpin to the Canucks’ success because he gave the team three scoring lines, but as time went on, we soured on Hodgson’s defensive capability. There’s evidence of this. We’ve been throwing water on him all year. Still, we didn’t think it would render him a tradeable asset, but hey — you can’t be right 100% of the time when you write something about the Canucks every day.

      This trade could come back to bite the Canucks in the ass. But there’s also reason to believe it won’t.

      And we’re plenty critical of the Canucks’ management team when we feel it warrants criticism (for instance, my recent beef with them demoting players based on contract flexibility, not merit). In this case, I think it’s too early to say.

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      • Brent
        February 29, 2012

        OK good point on being critical of sending people down to the minors because of contracts. Read this after my rant on toeing the party line. This of course assumes that you agree with Daniel piece on the trade.

        But you have to admit, your reaction on the trade day chat was one of shocked disbelief.

        Now that I think back, when they acquired another centre earlier in the day, we should have figured that they may shed a centre. But like you I was shocked.

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    • akidd
      February 29, 2012

      “Come to think of it, PITB is almost never critical of the Canucks’ management team….”

      you think?

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      • Daniel Wagner
        February 29, 2012

        This is mainly because Mike Gillis generally makes decisions that make sense. And when his decisions don’t pan out, he moves quickly to rectify the situation. Trust me, if Steve Tambellini was the GM of the Canucks, we would be very, very critical. Gillis has earned the benefit of the doubt with his decisions thus far, so when he makes a decision like this, I try to see the reasons behind it before passing judgement. In this case, the deal does make sense, although it is not without risk.

        I don’t agree with the people ragging incessantly on Hodgson, because I really like Hodgson as a person and as a player. I just recognize that he has flaws in his game at this point in his career. The initial response from the Canucks fanbase is that the trade made the Canucks worse this season; I don’t see it that way.

        Even if there was pressure from Cody’s agent and father, that says nothing about Hodgson’s character and it’s disappointing to see people going down that route. Hodgson was nothing but classy and professional while with the Canucks and I wish him success in the future.

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        • tj
          February 29, 2012

          Yes–Hodgson has near reached Crosby status at this point, in the eyes of some fans. Untouchable. It’s interesting that those who criticize PiTB for not being more critical of Canucks management are so unwilling to be critical of Hodgson.

          I appreciate your ongoing attempts to inject, if not reason, at least a counterpoise to the hysteria out there. While I’ve found PiTB to be generous on rare occasion when I myself want to holler at officials, management, etc etc, it’s also the reason why I come here, to get well-written viewpoints in the swell of storms. If folks want 1040-style ‘criticism’, there is a place for it. Thankfully, in my mind, it’s not here. Thanks for this post, DW. I don’t see it as towing any sort of party line.

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          • tj
            February 29, 2012

            (I do look forward to getting back to the funny on this site, someday. I am starting to miss the yuk-yuks.)

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            • stathead
              February 29, 2012

              they tried, on trade day, with a lighthearted piece about a meme or something. Bad move PR-wise, though – came across as coldhearted and disrespectful in view of the recent tragic loss. ;)

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    • peanutflower
      February 29, 2012

      who is the “we” you’re referring to here? If I’m part of the “we” my opinion is different than yours. There is nothing wrong with the trade. Cody was expendable and he was never going get top minutes on the Canucks, at least not for the foreseeable future. I must be in a minority, I’m guessing, but I just never bought into the Cody fan club. He has potential sure, but right now the Canucks are not a potential building team for offensive players. I’d rather have seen Raymond go, maybe, but in reality neither he or Hodgson really make that much difference in the equation. Kassian just might. He was pretty tentative and out to impress last night, but he looked pretty good I thought.

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  11. Dave Robinson (@dcrwrites)
    February 29, 2012

    Gotta give kudos for the LoSH shout-out. (Doubled for it being Pre-Crisis)

    I don’t know how things will fall out in the long run, but neither does anyone else. Any or all of these players could be in their last NHL season. What I do know is that the Sabres will probably put Cody where he needs to be to succeed, and the Canucks will do the same for Kassian.

    I do know that I’ve seen a lot of defensive gaffes on Cody’s part, and the idea of him caught out against another team’s top line never filled me with confidence.

    I do think it’s a move of a square peg from a round hole – but we’ll still have to see how it ends up.

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  12. Jahavol
    February 29, 2012

    Apparently Hodgson’s father and/or agent asked for more ice time as well. Since that obviously wasn’t going to happen it could only have been a veiled trade request. If that fact got out during the stretch run or the playoffs it would have a negative impact on the team.

    Hodgson’s father, with or without his son’s permission, forced Gillis to make a trade. Cody would not have allowed that to happen unless he was in full agreement with the purpose of that meeting. Was he tricked by his father? No. He was part of forcing the GM’s hand two days before the trade deadline. That is not the behavior of a future team captain. That is not the behavior of an adult. He showed that he has a lot of growing up to do and thankfully he won’t be doing it as a Canuck.

    Great player, but still a boy and not a man.

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    • Jon
      February 29, 2012

      That is assuming alot. Not saying your wrong, but its a bit of a stretch.

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      • stathead
        February 29, 2012

        Why are you guys downvoting this simple comment that it’s assuming a lot? The only source given (below) is a chain of speculation on a blog. It’s not a bad line of reasoning, but not enough to state it as fact that shortly before the trade deadline, CoHo’s father met to force the GM’s hand and CoHo could have stopped this, so the comment is reasonable.

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    • bergberg
      February 29, 2012

      What is your source for this?? I’m just curious.

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      • Jahavol
        February 29, 2012

        Source? Amongst others, try http://blogs.theprovince.com/2012/02/27/did-cody-hodgson-ask-for-a-trade/

        The pressure to increase Hodgson’s icetime coming from his family and his agent is a well known issue. When a GM responds to those questions with “that’s an internal thing” the answer might as well be “well, yes, they kept pushing for more ice time knowing it wasn’t coming which is tantamount to asking for a trade.”

        The consistent pressure directed at management to increase his ice time only had one possible outcome. He knew what that outcome was. Was he looking for Kesler to be traded instead? No, I can’t imagine that.

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        • Locky
          February 29, 2012

          Again I would say what is the source for this ‘press for more ice time’ by Cody and his agent. There is plenty of speculation by idiots like Gallagher about how Cody SHOULD be pressing for more ice time, but none that shows he actually did. Saying ‘everyone knows’ because it’s a point of speculation in the media does not make it true.

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    • Nick
      February 29, 2012

      It it’s true that Hodgson’s parents have been pressuring the hockey team about how he is used, this is not good.

      We don’t want another Bonnie Lindros circus disrupting team chemistry.

      If it’s true, then Gillis misread this kid’s character and leadership potential on draft day … and, having successfully forced a trade, the Hodgson family must feel even more empowered in their future dealings with GM Regier in Buffalo.

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    • Rituro
      February 29, 2012

      Agree with bergberg re:…

      “Apparently Hodgson’s father and/or agent asked for more ice time as well.”

      Sources, please.

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    • akidd
      February 29, 2012

      “That is not the behavior of a future team captain. That is not the behavior of an adult. He showed that he has a lot of growing up to do and thankfully he won’t be doing it as a Canuck.”

      and you get thumbs up for this. quite the flock of true believers on this site, i tell you.

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      • Jahavol
        February 29, 2012

        Name one good captain that has done it. Lindros had the same problem and was looked down on for it by media and fans.

        If you aren’t aware of the pressure his camp continually put on the Canucks organization then you haven’t been paying attention. They press for more ice time and nobody is denying it. He could have put a stop to it if he wanted to. He could tell his father to stop pressing the issue, he could fire his agent for the third time in four years. He didn’t do either, so obvously he never intended to be setting a good example for young players or intend to be a long term Canuck. Name a rookie who pressed for an Art Ross winner and a Selker winner to get less ice time so he could have it instead. Name one, just one.

        In case you can’t, I can: Cody Hodgson.

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  13. Brent
    February 29, 2012

    Daniel,

    I think this is the biggest piece of rationalization you have ever written. You are really toeing the Canuck party line.

    based on some of the previous PITB pieces we had increased our scoring depth (a la Boston) with some players who could also be physical (Bitz, weise, Duco (maybe)). Cody was a big part of that secondary scoring without the physical presence. I was somewhat reassured by Kassian playing fairly well last night, but I am still skeptical that he will be a scoring force in the playoffs. I really hope I am wrong.

    I suspect that this trade had more to do with Cody and possibly his agent annoying Gilles and AV. IN terms of net worth, I suspect he would have been worth more next summer, assuming he continued to put up the points.

    I guess all the faithful hope that Gilles made a great trade and Kassian stays up in the canucks lineup and is looked upon favourably like that other great acquisition by Gilles – Ballard……

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    • Prophet
      February 29, 2012

      In the interest of fair and balanced reporting, we should also mention that Gillis also brought in a couple of “rejects” in Lapierre and Higgins that didn’t turn out so badly. Ballard, Bernier, Sundin and Sturm are to obvious misses, but at least he cleaned up most of his mess. The jury is still out on the Luongo deal which hasn’t exactly blown up given his play of late, but c’mon, the guy’s batting average isn’t all that bad, and he just won the GM of the year award (or did they actually intended to give it to Steve Tambellini?)

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      • Brent
        February 29, 2012

        Good point on the Higgins and Lapierre. I generally think Gilles is a good GM, they all make mistakes. What I had actually meant to add was “looked upon favourably BY AV like that other great acquisition by Gilles – Ballard…..”

        Ballard is a pretty good defenceman, not great, but pretty good. Less so now that hip checks are all being called clipping. But he sure is in AV’s dog house way more than he deserves IMO. Thus he sits out more than he deserves. Having him be a heathy scratch and then come back in during the SCF isn’t completely fair. Especially when he tried to sell that penalty that resulted in a goal.

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        • Rituro
          February 29, 2012

          To be fair, Ballard is battling a concussion and was placed on IR. How much of his benching was “being in the doghouse” and “being unable to see straight”?

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          • Brent
            February 29, 2012

            True, now he is on IR but last year and even this year he was a healthy scratch. Less so this year. Must be some stats somewhere on healthy scratches but I couldn’t find it.

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  14. Mack
    February 29, 2012

    So anyone supporting Hodgson automatically gets downvotes? Yay democracy!

    In all seriousness, I’d agree that he didn’t fit the 3rd line centre role in the traditional sense. Vigneault clearly wasn’t comfortable going into the playoffs with three scoring lines, hence the change. It’s a gamble, because what happens when/if the Sedins/Kesler dry up again? Pahlsson ain’t gonna be the answer offensively. I hope it pays off though.

    Also, I don’t think he was given much of a shot on the wing. Certainly not enough to declare he “couldn’t get it done as a winger.” Did he blow us away in the limited chances he had at wing? Certainly not. But I still think he could have adjusted with time.

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    • bergberg
      February 29, 2012

      I don’t think there is any argument from Canucks fans that with time Cody Hodgson is going to be a great hockey player. And you may be right, that with time he may have adapted to being on the wing. Of course, we’re assuming that Cody was open to switching to the wing, but that aside. I think the issue is that the Canucks have been waiting for Cody to develop for a few years, and he is just not showing the progress they need for right now. By swapping prospects with the Sabres, Cody gets to play for a team that is not in an immediate push for the Stanley Cup and has time to develop him further. Meanwhile. we get Kassian who will have an immediate impact now with his physicality, and can also develop for the future as a power forward. Of course, all of this is based on speculation of the future development of these players. But what else can you go on?

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      • Nick
        February 29, 2012

        You’re throwing the term “great” around pretty loosely. No one knows if Coho will eventually become of the league’s greats. Let’s reserve superlatives like “great” for players like Gretzky, Lemieux, Orr, and company.

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        • bergberg
          March 1, 2012

          Fair enough, I don’t think that Hodgson will be a Gretzky, Lemieux, or Orr. I’m just trying to make the point that the Canuck fan base can still support Hodgson as a player, while also understanding why he wasn’t a good fit here.

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    • Harrison Mooney
      February 29, 2012

      HOW DARE YOU QUESTION PASS IT TO BULIS

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      • stathead
        February 29, 2012

        I was going to downvote you ironically, but figured people might not catch the irony.

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        • Brent
          February 29, 2012

          That was ironic font? Doesn’t show up on my Mac

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    • Lenny
      February 29, 2012

      Yes. 2 things I like to add:

      1, No one thought about putting Kesler on the wing with Cody playing centre. Yes I know… but hey we did it with Sundin.

      2, We are a contender, not a team trying to make the playoffs. We should go with a top 9 bottom 3 mentality, not a top 6 bottom 6 one. Somebody, I forgot who, said that the new NHL has almost rendered the energy line obsolete. It certainly doesn’t mean we don’t need size and toughness, it does mean that your 3rd line needs to score goals. Right now as it is, the lack of scoring potential from our 3rd line makes me nervous the most. But again, only time will tell how they pan out.

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      • Harrison Mooney
        February 29, 2012

        1. I thought of that, but when Sundin was here, Kesler wasn’t an elite centre. He does too much in the middle of the ice to be moved to wing now.

        2. People keep acting like the third line has died on the vine. They will win more shifts now, even if they wind up scoring less. That’s an improvement.

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        • JDM
          February 29, 2012

          I have no idea if they’ll win more shifts now. I hope so, but I don’t know. The third line was ineffective yesterday, largely, despite a strong game from Hansen in terms of his effort level. It was generally not a liability, except for a pass in the neutral zone in the first (IIRC) that was behind the target and ended up coming back into the Canucks’ zone for a scoring chance. All of this is likely the product of the three guys getting accustomed to playing together, though, and the difference between the former version and the relative effectiveness of the new third line will not be something we can evaluate until they’ve been together for 15 games or so.

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          • Harrison Mooney
            February 29, 2012

            Check out Canucks Army’s chance data for yesterday: the third line wasn’t ineffective at all.

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            • akidd
              February 29, 2012

              there you go hiding behind numbers again, telling us that we didn’t see what we saw. the canucks generated almost squat yesterday and they gave up a ton of chances.

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      • Jahavol
        February 29, 2012

        The primary goal of the third line is to shut down the opposition’s top line, particularly in the playoffs. Preventing goals against is much more important in that role than getting goals is.

        Also, Kesler (Selke winner) did play on the wing a couple of times, but why would any good coach do that? Why does the superior face off man and superior defensive center get moved to the wing so that a rookie can get more ice time?

        The new NHL isn’t what whoever said whatever about. Stanley cups require shut down lines.

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        • Harrison Mooney
          February 29, 2012

          “Why does the superior face off man and superior defensive center get moved to the wing so that a rookie can get more ice time?”

          Exactly. People were beginning to act like the team should be making strides to accommodate Hodgson at the expense of their stars. He hadn’t earned that sort of privilege yet.

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          • Brent
            February 29, 2012

            Do you always scratch your head like that?

            And…How do you get a picture/graphic beside your (well mine actually) comment?

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          • stathead
            February 29, 2012

            Also, Kesler might kill and eat the guy who told him he’d be playing wing from now on, if he happened to be in beast mode at the time.

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        • Lenny
          February 29, 2012

          “Stanley cups require shut down lines.”

          Yes – but a contender’s 3rd line should be able to score. Peverley, Bolland, Helm (?), Staal, Doug Weight are all potent offensive threats.

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          • Jahavol
            February 29, 2012

            The point is the goal differential. It simply does not matter how many goals your third line gets, the goal differential is all. Scoring 0 goals and allow none is better than scoring 9 and allowing 10. Focusing on only one side of the equation is not enough. Shutting down a top line during the playoffs is a huge responsibility while being a weak defensive line (which Hodgson’s line was) is a huge liability.

            If your point is that the Canucks should have gotten a top notch third line shut down guy who can also score, that is a lovely idea. Name one who was available and would fit under the cap.

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            • Lenny
              February 29, 2012

              Gaustad. Whether you want to give Buffalo a 1st or not is a different story. Ott is another one.

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              • Jahavol
                February 29, 2012

                Dallas wouldn’t trade Ott to the a competitor. Gaustad is expensive both in cash and in trade and doesn’t contribute many points.

                You are just proving my point. A solid third line shut down center who can put up points and is available for a late round picks? Goal diff > goals for third line players and mean playoff performers like Pahlsson are better on our team than on a competitor. Gillis got a good improvement defensively for practically nothing, and it happens to be a player with links to team members who may wish to sign next year. Big picture, you know?

                Anyhow I get the feeling you just want to prolong a false debate and not concede an obvious point that any hockey fan would concede. Don’t waste your time on it. I just happen to be right, it may be a coincidence.

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  15. VanFan85
    February 29, 2012

    What did Boston, Anaheim, Detroit, Pittsburgh, and Chicago all have when they won their cups post lock-out? They didn’t have scoring depth they had grinding depth that could score. All of those teams had 2 dangerous lines then 2 lines that could check and pitch in occasionally. The idea of have 3 “scoring” lines works in the regular season but not in the playoffs. Somebody commented earlier that scoring on the 3rd line doesnt matter becasue freeing up the top 2 lines to score is more important. Bringing in Pahlsson takes a lot of tough minutes off of Kesler (a lesson we learned last year when he got hurt). With 2 scoring lines a checking line and an energy line we now have all of the weapons that are needed to not just score goals but prevent goals as well. Yes our 2nd PP unit will be hurt by this but the Nucks have many differen options. Remeber when Chicago parked Byfuglien infront of Luonogo, who’s to say that Kassian cant fill that roll which free’s up Kesler to play on the 2nd Unit. I know a lot of people said Gilles should have waited until after the playoffs to make the trade but what happens if during the playoffs Hodgson gets exposed as a defensive liability or his back goes again and his value drops? This is a business, it was better to trade him now while his value is still high. Today the team is much more solid and stable defensively, its also grittier, bigger, faster, deeper, and more dynamic than it was 2 days ago. Gilles went out and did what all Canucks fans were pleading for him to do since the loss to Boston.

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    • Lenny
      February 29, 2012

      With these trades, I will go as far as to say that we are more playoff ready, yes, but only assuming Kesler and Henrik stay healthy, and Kassian can play top 6 or even top 9 minutes. We are bigger and grittier and nastier, but not deeper. So much of this rests of Kes and Hank being healthy, and they are one puck hit away from gone for an extended period of time.

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      • VanFan85
        February 29, 2012

        I’ll agree that we now have one less offensive center, and it will hurt us if Kesler or Hank go down. But look at it this way we are deeper on wing than we were before. Every winger in the bottom 3 lines is interchangable and we now have weise and bitz to call in for extra bodies if needed. We are also deeper on defense than we were with the addition of Gragnani. He is one of the best d-men in the AHL. He is a young swift puck-moving denefencemen, which teh Canucks now have the luxury of having 2 of (Tanev being the other). We still have 5 centers on the roster but the dynamic changed from having 3 scoring and checking centers to 2 scoring and 3 chekcing centers. Besides, I’m sure Pahlsson would do just fine centering the second line if needed, he is an experienced, confident center who could fillin if needed. He wont be as offensively minded as Kesler but he is just as good defensively and thats the whole point of bringing him in. At the deadline Gilles replaced an offensive center who had almost no defensive ability for a defensive center who can chip in goals. They still have 5 centers, and Gilles also added another versatile winger and another 2 defencemen – thats getting deeper.

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        • Lenny
          February 29, 2012

          Who is the 2nd D?

          “Besides, I’m sure Pahlsson would do just fine centering the second line if needed”

          Huh? That’s optimistic! I was thinking Raymond would be AV’s backup plan on 2nd line centre.

          “At the deadline Gilles replaced an offensive center who had almost no defensive ability for a defensive center who can chip in goals. ”

          That’s a stretch. Cody isn’t this bad.

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          • VanFan85
            February 29, 2012

            1.) The other defenceman is Andrew Gordon, they aquired him from Anaheim for Sebastien Erixson. He is a career minor leaguer and will probably stay in the AHL but never the less if the Canucks run into some catastrophic plague of injuries he is still an extra body.

            2.) Do you not think that one of our other 3 centers (Lapierre, Malhotra, Pahlsson) could center the 2nd line if Kesler or Sedin went down? I know it sounds like a stretch but I’m sure one of them could fill in. If coaching and management didnt think that one of them could they wouldny have traded Hodgson away.

            3.) Regarding my comment about Hodgson being terrible defensively. Do you think he is good enough to play against the leagues best 1st liners and shut them down consistantly on a nightly basis? No he isnt. Sure we lose a lot of offensive upside by replacing him with Pahlsson but the Canucks are already one of the highest scoring teams in the league and defense wins championships.

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  16. Nee
    February 29, 2012

    Okay, you MAY be winning me over with this piece. : )

    Some good points. Good work poking holes in my ‘Canucks are weaker in the NOW’ concerns.

    And looking at it all another way, we should be happy for Cody moving on to a team where he’ll get an opportunity to grow with more ice time.

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  17. VanFan85
    February 29, 2012

    I try to get all of my points into one post so I’m not flooding the board but in this case I’m going to make an exception. I – like most Canucks fans – had an emotional connection to Hodgson. The cards were stacked against him from day-1 in Vancouver. Rumours of infighting between his dad and his agent with management, over injuries and icetime made it hard to believe he was even here at all. He did things his own way – seeked help elsewhere for his back, he had to work for every minute of ice-time he got. If he wasnt such a good offensive player I can amlost guarantee he would have been traded at christmas. He worked hard and pulled through when everything was stacked against him, he’s a good honest hard working kid. It’s unfortunate to see him leave but he was never going to get enough ice-time in Vancouver to reach his full potential and there is no way he would have stuck around another 3 or 4 years waiting for a top 6 spot – eventually he would have been asked to be traded. Canucks fans are up in arms about trading away such a good young kid but the truth of the matter is, he just wasnt fitting into the overall plan. Canucks fans have a habit of looking at players through rose-coloured glasses and seeing only the positives of a player while completely ignoring the faults. He put up 16 goals and 30 some-odd points and was great on the power play but he did this while playing sheltered minutes and he rarely had to play against the opponents top defenders and checkers. He was rarely started in the defensive zone becasue he couldnt win faceoffs. Malhotra had to be brought in to win those draws then get off the ice ASAP so Hansen could come on to replace him. It’s not an ideal situation when the coach doesnt trust a player to get it done and clearly V didnt trust him at all. In a way I’m glad he got out of Vancouver and now has an opportunity to fulfill his potential in ways that he was never going to be able to do here but I feel it will be some time before we ever see the best of Cody becasue he will be forced to play those minutes that V sheltered him from and he will be facing the leagues best defenders as a 2nd line center and it is going to take some time for him to develope the necessairy skills to deal with those different situations. If he can develop the defensive side of his game and work on getting just a bit faster and combine that with his hockey sence and offensive ability he will become a dominate center in this league for a long time. I wish him the best and good luck in Buffalo.

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    • peanutflower
      February 29, 2012

      Holy paragraph batman. I agree with you, though. I have a good source that I would never divulge, but it’s only one removed from the horse’s mouth, so to speak, that there was a good deal more interference by Cody’s entourage with Canuck management than really there should have been. Say whatever you want about that and think whatever you want, but there is no way that that is ever a good scenario for anyone. It’s bad for the folks that are trying to run the business and it’s bad for Cody, who is of an age that he should be taking care of stuff by himself. Whether Cody is a good player or not becomes moot in that scenario. It just makes it easier for GMMG to rationalize trading him away. All of this speculation and PITB-bashing is pointless because in the end the trade may have been made, from the Canuck end at least, without Cody’s hockey abilities at the forefront.

      In the end, the Canucks want to win. I was never on the Cody bandwagon — maybe for a minute or two when he scored those two ringers — so I don’t have far to jump off, but I like the trade. If Kassian can end up playing at even 70 percent of Bertuzzi at his best by the playoffs he’s an asset that the Canucks need. Whether or not the scoring dried up in the SCF, I think everyone would agree — or maybe I just speak for myself — that if the Canucks had been manhandled less or had been able to manhandle (that’s just such an appropriate word, no?) right back things might have turned out differently.

      But we can all speculate away until April, right? Or June I guess.

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  18. Andre
    February 29, 2012

    My Oh My! Are we ever an opinionated bunch here!

    Personally, I find Daniel’s argument compelling, and do not feel that his detractors have addressed it head-on. Perhaps another way to put it is that brilliance wins the Cup less than mistakes lose it. Comparing the pre-trade vs post-trade Canucks, I think our chances have improved.

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  19. akidd
    February 29, 2012

    well this is quite the revealing issue isn’t it. if i thought that the bulies were true believers before i’m pretty convinced of it now. the thumbs are all on the side of the party line. quite the church you’ve cultivated here, daniel and harrison. may i suggest applying for tax-exempt status?

    and for a blog you sure do support the canuck management position at every turn.

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    • Daniel Wagner
      February 29, 2012

      I won’t apologize for being convincing. Nor will I apologize for thinking that Mike Gillis is a good General Manager who makes reasonable decisions.

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      • JDM
        February 29, 2012

        It’s not that you’re convincing. It’s also not that this is some sort of church of the PITB, though there is a bit of that, not surprisingly. It’s the Church of the Vancouver Canucks, or more accurately, the church of the home team. Everyone’s a zealot. What do you expect? Say nice things about the Canucks and their chances, get a thumbs up from the fans who frequent PITB. Say critical things, get a thumbs down. What do you think “fan” is short for?

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      • tj
        February 29, 2012

        “I won’t apologize for being convincing.” Heh heh.

        (Some folks are bulies, and some are bullies? :) )

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      • akidd
        February 29, 2012

        some pretty intelligent posts here making insightful points are getting thumbed way down. my take is not whether your argument is convincing but that because your followers like you(and you do seem like nice guys) they agree with you.

        i do bristle though when i see rational thought taking a backseat to faith. and i see that happening here, both in you and harrison’s faith in gillis and in the bulies’ faith in you and harrison.

        i, too, like gillis. i like dostoevsky as well but some of his novels aren’t actually that great. and i know this because i’ve read them. i know that comes off a bit pompous but i just want to make the point that,”Mike Gillis is a good General Manager who makes reasonable decisions” does not mean that all gillis’ decisions are reasonable. it certainly gives him some benefit of the doubt but by no means does it place him above criticism.

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        • Jahavol
          February 29, 2012

          Continually referring to those who disagree with you as bullies can’t be doing much good, can it? That sounds oddly like bullying. If the insightful posts were insightful I assume that would be reflected in the rating.

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        • Brad Hall
          February 29, 2012

          Comments get thumbed down because people don’t agree with them akidd. We’ve all read a level-headed and logical argument on PITB, whether you agree with it or not does NOT mean you’re on one side or another of this “faith” thing you’ve dreamed up. I do bristle though when people who think they’re in a minority try to make the majority look like a bunch of fools or something. I’ve seen a lot of rational thought in these comments and not much of it has come from you.

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    • Jahavol
      February 29, 2012

      Personally, I find comments like yours rather humorous. You disagree with the opinion of the majority so they must be bullies or true believers and the more you disagree with the majority the more it convinces you that the majority is wrong.

      Sounds a bit paranoid.

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    • Andre
      February 29, 2012

      Mocking or ridiculing your opponent is a last-resort response made by those unwilling to concede an argument.

      This discussion reflects the passion of those who follow this blog, but it should not become divisive because we disagree with one another.

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    • VanFan85
      February 29, 2012

      So just because they are a blog they are supposed to be anti-establishment? Unlike the general concenssus some of us actually think the Mike Gilles is actually a good General Manager. I know! It’s hard to believe isn’t it?!

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  20. shoes
    February 29, 2012

    If Zack Kassian staples either Bolland, Marchand, Horton or Lucic to the boards so hard they rethink their career choice, I will consider this a won trade and IMO the act itself will cause the Sedins to score and Kesler to fly.

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    • tj
      February 29, 2012

      This kid is under hella pressure, isn’t he? Welcome to Van, the land of crazy high housing and equally crazy high expectations!

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  21. Rocko
    February 29, 2012

    Just remember: the same people complaining about this trade were likely complaining when Keenan trading Linden for McCabe and Bertuzzi – quite possibly the best trade in Canucks’ history! It’s really tough to judge Kassian until we see what he does it the playoffs. And, truth is, Hodgson probably wasn’t ready for prime time in the playoffs yet and Kassian will be (at least from the physical perspective). I think this was a trade that had to be made and we picked up a pretty decent return. It will be interesting to see how Hodgson does playing against the other teams’ top D pairings now, as he never faced that while playing behind (or being protected!) Sedin and Kesler.

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    • Frank Nelissen
      February 29, 2012

      Is the argument that Hodgson had sheltered minutes not THE reason why they should have kept and played him!? If the top 2 defensive pairs of our opponents play against our top 2 lines, our scoring depth with Hogson on the 3rd lune would have helped us expose their weaknesses far easier…

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      • Jahavol
        February 29, 2012

        It doesn’t work that way. If a line is weak the opposition will target that line. Line matching is part of the game. If not being good enough to play regular minutes is now a justification for playing regular minutes then we must have all been transported to Bizarro world.

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        • Lortimer
          February 29, 2012

          The problem is we ALREADY had a weak defensive line targeted by our opponents…
          in last year’s playoffs…THE SEDINS….the truth is a team can’t have two weaker defensive lines
          and needed paulson so that the sedins could continue to be sheltered and cherry pick while the rest of the lines carry them!

          ? Why are the Canucks overated? = because our top two ‘elite’ players can’t play defensively.

          The irony is the same critizims that are being thrown at Hodgson apply to H. Sedin – a player ten years older.

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          • Lenny
            February 29, 2012

            Lortimer, while I agree with you in general I disagree with you about the Sedins. They can play defensively just fine. Remember the series against LA when we couldn’t kill a penalty to save our lives? AV eventually threw the Sedins out to kill them and I would say that that move turned the PK tide around for us.

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          • VanFan85
            February 29, 2012

            This comment is the exact thing I have mentioned before. Canucks fans have the tendancy to see things through rose-coloured glasses and see only the good qualities and completely overlook the bad ones. For months after the playoffs last year my rants about how terrible the Sedins were defensively fell on def ears because everybody was to busy blaming Luongo and the refs to hear it. Over the course of 25 playoff games last year the Sedins were a combined -20! Of the 25 games the Canucks played the Sedins were only solid in 8 of them – the first 3 against Chicago and the 5 against San Jose and in those 8 games they were a combined +12 which means in the other 17 games they were a combined -32! I just dont see how some fans can look passed that.

            As for your comparison to Hodgson. The only way he was going to stay a member of the Canucks was by being the 3rd line center. To play that postion he had to be able to shut down the leagues top players on a nightly basis and he just doesnt have the skill set required to do that. Its not that some people are critisizing him we are pointing out that he doesnt have the skillset required to play the role that the Canucks needed him to play.

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            • Daniel Wagner
              February 29, 2012

              Combined plus/minus is a non-starter. You can’t combine the plus/minus statistics of players that play together on the same line. It takes an already questionable statistic and makes it literally twice as bad.

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              • VanFan85
                February 29, 2012

                I’m a stats guy Daniel I always have been and I have never liked the +/- because it never tells the whole story but in this case I think its relavent because the Sedins specialise in puck possession in the offensive zone and scoring goals. The minus rating (say we cut in half to -10 being that they play on the same line) means that they had 10 more goals scored against them than they scored when they were on the ice which means they didnt have puck possession in the offensive zone and they gave opponents puck possession time in their own zone which ultimately led to goals – which the -10 indicates. I know the argument will be that they could have had possession for a full minute in the offensive zone before the opposing team took it back and scored off the rush but the bottom line is – through most of the playoffs last year and some games this year – when they got hemmed-in in their own end or they get caught at the end of a shift they look lost and disjointed and at times look like they had no idea what they are doing and the opposing teams were/are able to score against them. It doesnt matter if they are puck possession, offensive zone specialists, if in the rare case they have to get back into their own zone to defend they have to be able to shut down the opponent just as effectively as the 3rd and 4th liners do and there are games – even as recently on this passed road trip – when they’ve had trouble doing it.

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  22. Frank Nelissen
    February 29, 2012

    And BTW, still love PITB!!!!

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  23. Chris T
    February 29, 2012

    People you aren’t expecting step up in Cup runs. Lapierre was huge for us last year, who is to say that he can’t feed Higgins and Hansen (if AV ever rolls out a line like that). I guess my point is there is no guarantee that Cody was going to be huge for us this playoffs anyway. He could wear down, he could go cold, etc etc.
    If this team is to make a cup run, it will see big contributions from people like Booth, Raymond, Higgy again, Lappy, etc.
    Cody was not our only secondary option.
    If anyone looked at a lineup this balanced a year ago, Sedins and Kes line (with a winger now in Booth) to score and two checking lines that look like they will be godly in the playoffs….we would be salivating. I am stoked to see how it plays out.

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  24. Rudes
    February 29, 2012

    I am one of the heartbroken fans of COHO who mourned for 2-3 hours before I saw the light. The light, as it turns out, was not this PITB blog entry but rather the opinions of several people (media types and friends) who know alot more about hockey than I do. More importantly , the opinion of GMMG who runs this hockey team unlike any team has been run before. If you can’t see how much he’s improved this team over the past 4 years, you aren’t paying attention. Yes, there’s been missteps, but they’ve been quickly managed (with the exception of Ballard who I believe will be gone with Schneider’s rights this summer).

    All the debate about Hodgson playing sheltered minutes and not being strong defensively stand, as does the fact that he’s been incredibly clutch and has looked just amazing at points but the one true fact that should end this thread is this: Cody Hodgson would never have resigned here.

    When you’re in business (as I am) you sell your assets at their highest possible value. One could even opine that by playing CoHo situationally (as has been discussed on this blog at length), Coach V intentionally raised his value over the last few months to facilitate this trade. Sure you can make the argument CoHo would have been worth more in the offseason but I disagree as I don’t think he would have performed well in the playoffs where his skating, defensive skill and size would have been exposed.

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  25. peanutflower
    February 29, 2012

    Okay, so is anyone following Rich Winter on Twitter? This guy is seriously a piece of work. said they asked for more ice time in one tweet and then says he didn’t in another. Oh, and he refuses to be interviewed by the media too. It’s pretty entertaining reading! And pretty insightful too, perhaps. @hockeyagentdad

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    • Nee
      February 29, 2012

      Remember that giant tirade he went on a few weeks ago against PITB, and Wagner in particular? The guy is a nut.

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      • Harrison Mooney
        February 29, 2012

        Not touching this. But yes, it does seem strange to expend so much energy coining the Wagner principle or whatever, only to effectively give fuel to our theory a month later.

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  26. SteveB
    February 29, 2012

    Um, wow. Over 100 comments.
    Anyhow, I enjoyed looking through the Legion of Super-Heroes link.
    http://www.studiosanning.shawbiz.ca/legion_of_super-heroes/

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  27. Nee
    February 29, 2012

    And I wouldn’t take the down-votes personally guys. I’m sure some people straight-up disagree, and others don’t want to hear a theory that we will be losers in this trade.

    No big deal.

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  28. george
    February 29, 2012

    Hodgson was a liability. Just look at his +- in the minors. And if you struggle with faceoffs you might as well be coffing the puck up in-play. He was slow and did not back-check. I am sorry, this is a good trade for the Canucks.

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  29. Lenny
    February 29, 2012

    I think out of all this Kassian vs Cody talk, we have forgotten that we were 1 game away from winning the Cup last year. If Hamhuis didn’t hurt himself (yes, Lucic didn’t do it), if Kesler didn’t hurt himself, if Rome didn’t lay out Horton half a second late, we would’ve won the Cup.

    The Kesler shutting down the Toews, Fisher and Thornton strategy worked like nothing else. That we know. Why you would want to get Pahlsson to do that just for the sake of freeing up Kesler to score and make Cody expendable is a bit baffling. Whether Pahlsson can do it is too much of a question mark. If they had wanted to sign a bruiser to play top 9 minutes they could’ve resigned Torres. For all his flaws he is a known commodity, cheap and more importantly, an UFA this past off season. And yes we could’ve just settled with the Pahlsson trade, or better yet, bite the bullet to get Gaustad.

    To make Monday’s trades completely work for us, we have to hope the following to happen:

    1, Hank and Kesler stay healthy
    2, Pahlsson can indeed shut down the very best of the west.
    3, Kassian can play top 6 or even top 9 minutes
    4, Gragnani is reliable. Sabres fans say he has defensive flaws

    I think it would be overly optimistic to hope that all 4 conditions prevail over the length of the playoffs.

    One extra benefit of having Kassian is that we are more insulated on the wings. If Raymond or Booth goes down, its not so bad. (and of course, he can cause opponents pains that Cody never could).

    So really, I see Monday’s trades collectively as a sideway move, not upwards.

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    • Daniel Wagner
      February 29, 2012

      Kesler vs. Toews led to no offense whatsoever out of Kesler. The two battled to a stalemate. That’s okay, but having Pahlsson do the job instead allows Kesler to play a more offensive role.

      Against Nashville, Lapierre was actually the guy who did most of the shutdown work, taking over the enabler role that Malhotra had during the regular season. That’s a big reason why Kesler had such a dynamite series.

      As for Thornton, he had 6 points in that 5-game series, averaging 4 shots per game. Kesler had 3 points and averaged just over 2 shots per game. Thornton didn’t get shut down.

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    • Johnny B Goode
      February 29, 2012

      Good post, Lenny, but I still think there are underlying issues that matter more than the 4 insightful, short-term ones you listed.
      1. As much fun as it is to watch the twins play when they are in full Sweet Georgia Brown mode, I still find them failing to adapt their style to effectively counter top quality defences, playoffs, or not. The whole league have seen them play exactly the same way for a couple of seasons now, and good teams slow them down every time. Furthermore, for a top line, they cannot play an effective 200 foot game and drive posession into the offensive zone.
      2. Special teams. Last year’s powerplay was a thing of beauty on the level of Steve Nash’s 2 NBA MVP seasons, but they’ve been scouted. Other teams have copied aspects of the formations. The loss of Erhoff removed an element of fluidity and unpredictability. Also, the PK is still pretty solid, but has let them down a few times.
      3. AV. More than any other coach, he gives his players heavily specialized roles. The problem is that this causes a lack of adaptibility when things go sour. What was his plan B in the finals? Because I never saw one. (Granted, literally everyone was banged up.)

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      • Daniel Wagner
        February 29, 2012

        That last point is actually one I’ve been thinking about. While AV’s specialized deployment of his players is innovative and has led to a lot of success, it does mean that some players might become less flexible. There were a few occasions in the Stanley Cup Final where the Sedins looked susceptible defensively and I wondered if it was because they barely played in the defensive zone all season.

        It’s an interesting theory, but I’m not really sure how to test it. What complicates matters is that what AV is doing is essentially unprecedented in the league, at least to the degree that AV is doing it.

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        • Brent
          March 1, 2012

          If we are going to go all the way back to the SCF and assign blame, my 2c worth is that it is AV’s fault. I know we had lots of injuries, but he just didn’t seem to adjust. With Luongo melting down in Boston, why not start Schnider? He did against Chicago, this could have made the difference. Also he didn’t fix the power play. That was our strength throughout the regular season and playoffs and it sputtered in the final. He also didn’t adjust to their suddenly effective power play. And he didn’t motivate the players to put it all out there. Who among the canucks had a stellar final series? I would say Higgins and Hansen were the most effective Canucks. Again, he may have tried and just couldn’t do it with all the injuries.

          Saying that, I think he has learned in terms of Luongo/Schnider. Starting Schnider in Boston was a gutsy move I did not totally agree with (thought Luongo needed to exorcise some demons) but it worked. So I assume this means he will be more likely to play Schnider more in the playoffs. The power play I am not so sure about. It has been less effective lately (we have dropped to third overall) and it need to get tuned up before the playoffs. His mixing up the lines lately is a good thing. Speaks to the flexibility issue you mentioned.

          I am pretty optimistic that if we can get out of the west we have a good shot at the Cup this year. Certainly it would be good if we had Cody but we do have more depth on forwards this year and even if Kassian doesn’t completely pan out this year, Bitz and Weise are able to play. Still somewhat concerned about depth on defence.

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  30. foobarbear
    February 29, 2012

    people are still angry? i thought it should be the acceptance stage by now.

    most arguments revolving around “hodgson can step in in case of injuries to hank and kes” is off base because any team is kind of screwed missing its top centers in the playoffs. counting on insurance really isn’t gonna win you many playoff series.

    i think many of us were hoping hodgson can pull a tyler seguin against the lightning last season. i know i sure was. but that’s not very realistic.

    did we improve? as long as our top 3 forwards stay healthy, i’d say so. to reiterate, our best chance of winning the cup is without a doubt counting on sedinx2 and kes to produce like top forwards–not falling back on hodgson as insurance.

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  31. CC
    February 29, 2012

    Things floating through the minds of most Canuck fans in the last 48 hours:
    - WTF Hodgson was traded?!
    - Who the hell is Zack Kassian?! [wikipedia Zach Kassian]
    - Eff Mike Gillis!! Friggin shiny face garden gnome.
    - [watch youtube videos of Kassian hits] ooh that’s dirty…i kinda like this guy
    - Obligatory Stojanov/Neely comment on PITB discussion board
    - I wonder what the Kurtenbloggers think about the trade…i never know anymore because they’re trying to be neutral at PHT but they way overcompensate
    - Is it Cash-ian or Cassie-in?
    - Mike Gillis might be on to something here. I guess we’ll wait and see.
    - [check yahoo for how many games are left until the playoffs...18]
    - akidd is really stuck on this true believer church metaphor

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  32. SteveB
    February 29, 2012

    Boxscore for Buffalo’s 2-0 win tonight:

    Player G A PTS +/- PIM SOG TOI SHF PPG SHG FOW FOL
    Cody Hodgson 0 0 0 1 0 4 16:04 20 0 0 5 3

    Oh, how I wish there was a Preview…
    I have a very bad feeling that this is going to blow up on me into and garbled mess.

    The gist of it is Silent G had no Points or PIMs, was a +1, took 4 Shots, had 16:04 Time on Ice, took 20 Shifts, won 5 Face-offs, lost 3.

    He’s certainly getting his ice time now.

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  33. JS Topher
    March 1, 2012

    So many people seem to have forgotten Steven Reinprecht. In the case of injuries come playoff time, this man will be more help than we realize. Look at what we’ve got waiting for us in the minors. Once we make our playoff time call ups, we’re gonna have a decent little stock of back up NHL level players.
    Just chill everyone. This team is stacked.

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  34. Anonymous
    March 1, 2012

    I get this and this is a good post but damn I wish Gillis got a D man for Cody instead. We are not throwing Gragnani into the fire of the Western Conference playoffs and the D is where we’re weakest.

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  35. DaveM
    March 1, 2012

    Any trade involving high-potential young players is a gamble. No one will be able to fully assess this deal for at least five years. The real question is, was this a good gamble? For me, the answer is definitely yes.

    Kassian is obviously a different type of player but on balance he has at least as much long-term upside as Hodgson. And as Wagner points out, he probably benefits the team more in the short-term.

    In addition Gragnani is an upgrade on Sulzer as a depth guy, and being four years younger, still has an outside chance of developing into a top-4 d-man in future.

    I reckon Gillis made his share of mistakes earlier on — Naslund out/Demitra in, Bernier, Ballard — but he’s getting better at this apparently. Cashing in on a player in a deep position who also happened to be at a sell-high point. Short-term strengthening (counting the Pahlsson deal) without any obvious long-term sacrifice, including not trading away any more draft picks in the first three rounds.

    Recent history says the Canucks are unlikely to make the final a second year running no matter what deals they made, but this hasn’t hurt their chances at all — this year or after.

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  36. Josh D.
    March 1, 2012

    Yes, you aren’t allowed to agree with the Church of PITB because you’re supposed to be agreeing with the Church of St. Hodgson.

    Half of the fanbase sounds like a jilted girlfriend: “Zack can’t wear the number nine because that was CODY’S NUMBER!’

    Seriously, guys?

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  37. bergberg
    March 1, 2012

    I don’t understand why everyone thinks that with Cody gone, the only lines that are going to score goals are the 1st and 2nd lines. Obviously if we are going to win the Stanley Cup you need production from the 1st and 2nd lines, that goes for any team. But without Cody we still have Hansen and Higgins on the third line, both of whom are perfectly capable of scoring goals. I haven’t seen what Pahlsson can do yet, but I’m betting he’ll be able to chip in too. He’s an experienced guy. The fourth line manages to score some goals for us too. I just think people are jumping into the deep end with the “Cody’s gone, we won’t be able to score any goals” thing, it doesn’t make any sense.

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    • Lenny
      March 1, 2012

      In case you are still wondering, this is the reason for our scoring concern with Pahlsson:

      GP G A PTS +/- PPG PPA SHG SHA GWG PIM Shots PCT Hits
      Year to date 62 2 9 11 -6 0 0 1 0 0 22 66 3.03 100
      On Pace 79 2 11 13 -6 0 0 1 0 0 28 85 2.35 129

      The 3.03 PCT concerns us the most. 2 goals in 66 shots. Some of you were applauding his performance becase he had a shot on goal last night….. Since he is only a minus 6 in Columbus I assume that he can still be good defensively.

      Granted, his numbers in the playoffs historically have been waaay better. I’ll be open minded. We’ll see.

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    • Warpstone
      March 1, 2012

      Good point. I also think AV will end up mixing up the lines 3 and 4 as needed too. Need more of a counter-attacking threat?

      Then swap Pahlsson for Lapierre to upgrade the speed of Line 3.

      The really nice perk of our bottom two lines is that they’re both decent checking lines. They offer lots of specialists to create the shutdown or energy line needed at any moment in a long playoff run.

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    • VanFan85
      March 1, 2012

      As I said in a previous post, other team that have own the Cup post lockout didnt have ‘scoring depth” they had grinding defensive depth that could score. Higgins, and Hansen can score and Pahlsson with surely get opportunites to score playing with good wingers, and th e4th line has been pretty good about chipping in on ocassion this year too. The only place htis is really going to hurt the Canucks is on the PP. Hodgson gave them a bonafide 2nd Unit so some adjustments will have to be made there. As the old saying goes – defense wins championships. I would gladly give up Hodgson’s offense for more complete defense any day of the week and twice on June 15th!

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  38. Chichly
    March 1, 2012

    Please tell me that there’s going to be a posting about Winters’s current issue, wherein he can’t keep his awful yap shut over twitter. Pure asshattery I tell you!

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  39. G.K.Bright
    March 1, 2012

    Loosing Cody is tough but. I have faith on Canucks management.

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