The Canucks gave Cody Hodgson two makeovers this year

Considering when news of Cody Hodgson’s trade to Buffalo broke — at around 12:30 PST, well after the trade deadline had passed — you could be forgiven for thinking it was a last-minute deal, like the one that brought Chris Higgins to the team at the 2011 cutoff. And, after Hodgson’s agent Ritch Winter claimed in the aftermath that he and Hodgson had met with the Canucks the weekend prior about icetime, you might even think it was a kneejerk move.

But on Tuesday morning at Mike Gillis’s season wrap-up presser, the Canucks’ GM had some interesting things to say about the circumstances surrounding Hodgson’s departure. Most notably, while he never quite said it, it’s apparent that even if Buffalo didn’t get onboard until later, the team had been working on a Hodgson deal since December at least.

Remember how Hodgson’s teammates gave him an off-ice makeover? Turns out the coaching staff gave him one too.

In case it’s not yet clear, Hodgson’s camp was difficult to please. For years, we heard that there were problems with the way the Canucks were handling the young centre, and even if there weren’t, Hodgson’s camp strongly felt otherwise. After remaining mum about the subject at the deadline, Gillis finally elaborated on that Tuesday:

There’s a lot that goes into that. At the end of the day, I chose not to speak about what happened behind the scenes because I expect our players to come in and have the opportunity to speak to me without it being made public. There clearly were issues that were ongoing. I spent more time with Cody’s issues than every other player combined for the last 3 years. We made a determination that he didn’t want to be here.

But just when did the Canucks make this determination? I’d argue that it was sometime in December.

You may recall Hodgson’s monster January, a streak during which he put up 6 goals and 4 assists, picked up an  “NHL Rookie of the Month” Award, briefly waded into the Calder trophy discussion, and won the hearts of nearly the entire Vancouver fanbase in the process. It was his coming-out party, the month Canuck nation decided that, not only was this Hodgson kid was going to work out after all, but he was going to be an absolute stud.

You may also recall that Thomas Drance took a very close look at Hodgson’s numbers and determined that they were inflated based on some curious changes to his usage. Quietly, his icetime spiked by 2 minutes and his offensive zone start percentage went from 33% in December to 83% in January — a higher rate than even the Sedins, the league leaders in offensive zone deployment.

As it turns out, this deployment wasn’t just done to capitalize on Hodgson’s offensive abilities and get him away from his defensive weaknesses. It done to make him look attractive to potential buyers, the hockey equivalent of staging a home. Gillis again:

We built him into something we could move. We put Cody on the ice in every offensive situation we could, I don’t think he took more than 5 or 6 defensive zone faceoffs. That was by design. I don’t regret that move and I’d do it again.

Sure enough, Hodgson’s value skyrocketed, to the point where the Canucks were able to get one of the 6 players they had determined some time ago they would swap for Hodgson if he ever became available. That was Zack Kassian.

We know the Canucks use advanced statistics, but this adds a very intriguing dimension to how they use them and what they use them for. From Canucks Army:

So now we know something else, and it’s something very interesting. Not only do the Canucks use advanced stats when thinking about what personnel to add, but they consider how they can use their “edge” in understanding, to inflate player value on the trade market.

Considering what Kassian contributed to the Canucks this year (to wit: nothing, apart from this badass photo), all of this is likely to make many roll their eyes. The Canucks inflated Hodgson’s value so they could get Zack Kassian? That’s a lark. But keep in mind that your high opinion of Hodgson is informed largely by his illusory January. Tasked with playing at both ends of the ice in Buffalo, Hodgson struggled mightily down the stretch.

And let’s not give up on Kassian just yet. Power forwards take longer to develop, and Kassian’s 2011-12 season was his first taste of hockey at the NHL level. Consider Hodgson’s mediocre showings in 2010-11, after which many Canuck fans called the centre a bust. Now many of those same fans are leading the uproar over his trade. Kassian has plenty of time to grow into a contributor, especially with his first full season as a Canuck lying ahead.

If he can, fans may stop bemoaning what the Canucks did in February and start appreciating what they did in January.

Tags: , , , , ,

62 comments

  1. Nick
    April 24, 2012

    I had a feeling that’s what they were doing with Cody. Showcasing him. AV is not the greatest in-game strategist, but I am hopeful that he’ll be able to develop Zack and bring him along like a lot of the others who have improved with Vigneault.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +15 (from 19 votes)
    • Tom Benjamin
      April 24, 2012

      AV isn’t the greatest in-game strategist? I think what he started doing a couple of years back – deploying players according to where the faceoff is rather than line matching – is brilliant. I’m amazed that the MSM hasn’t picked up on it.

      I think Harrison is right about everything except the idea that Gillis is using advanced statistics in some way to gain an advantage. Everything that was done can be done without referring to any numbers at all.

      Once they decided to trade Hodgson, they showcased him. Teams have been doing this for decades. They were lucky he got hot at a great time for them and they made a good trade. The only downside is that the opportunity and a hot streak had a lot of fans thinking he was going to become an elite player.

      I’d already decided that he wasn’t going to be elite, so I was delighted by the trade. It might not work out, but I like the thinking. Hodgson was never going to help us (in my opinion) and I’m feeling pretty good about Kassian.

      VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: +15 (from 25 votes)
      • Nick
        April 24, 2012

        ok … you got me … AV IS the greatest in-game strategist

        VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
        Rating: +2 (from 4 votes)
  2. akidd
    April 24, 2012

    more proof that gillis was looking ahead to next season. his ‘doctors’ had already calculated the fatigue factor for this past season. mg is on the ball. coho was definitely showcased. as was lou.

    still, when comparing hodgson’s pedigree with kassian’s it was gillis that took more risk. although if av wasn’t going to use coho much down the stretch perhaps coho’s trade value had reached a zenith and kassian was who was available at that time.(i wonder who the other 5-6 players on gillis’ list were.)

    i would like to see av give developing young players a chance to make some mistakes in the regular season though.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +16 (from 18 votes)
    • Harrison Mooney
      April 24, 2012

      Yeah, I think Gillis’s moves for this season were definitely designed with long-term rather than short-term payoff in mind. It’s a super gutsy way to run a team that just went to the Stanley Cup Final. I’ll have to write on this.

      VN:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: +29 (from 29 votes)
      • akidd
        April 24, 2012

        it’s always nice when we agree:)

        VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
        Rating: +2 (from 6 votes)
      • akidd
        April 24, 2012

        and yes, it was SUPER gutsy considering all the time and energy that team and fans invested.

        VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
        Rating: +8 (from 8 votes)
      • Abby
        April 24, 2012

        I’d love to read a post you write on this. It’s something that has made me mighty curious this season/playoffs.

        VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
        Rating: +7 (from 7 votes)
      • akidd
        April 24, 2012

        and does gillis’ long-term planning fully take into account the ‘changing of the guard’ we saw in the first round in the west? i was happy that he acknowledged that vancouver fans don’t want to watch defense-oriented hockey but he also said, “bigger, stronger, younger.” not exactly, ‘”faster and more skilled.”future cups are very likely to go through nashville and st. louis. how do you strike the balance of being competitive and entertaining in the new nhl?

        so many questions.

        VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
        Rating: +10 (from 10 votes)
        • rvtBC
          April 24, 2012

          And where exactly does this fascination with, essentially, physical size, leave the high draft pick Schroeder? Oozes potential but the knock against him will be lack of size and we’ve seen with AV that he prefers to go with size, especially in his lower two lines. I

          t’s really only the lower two lines that ever have openings for rookies as the top two are pretty much reserved with a rotating cast of NHL players auditioning for that final role. It doesn’t seem that rookies get a real chance of making it into the forward rotation and definitely not the top 6 foward spots.

          VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
          Rating: +4 (from 4 votes)
          • peanutflower
            April 24, 2012

            Edmonton seems to be building a team around players like Schroeder, so I guess that will be the thing to look at.

            VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
            Rating: +8 (from 8 votes)
          • Mark in Steveston
            April 25, 2012

            I think Claude Giroux has put that “lack of size” myth to bed. Not that you don’t need big power forwards as well, but at 172lbs, CG is 3 lbs less than Schroeder.

            VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
            Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
          • dougster
            April 26, 2012

            Are we so sure that Kes is our #2 center? It could be that 2010-11 was the outlier in his offensive production and he might be better used as a #3 shutdown guy who can produce 20-30 goals in that role, which would be great. Maybe our #2 next year will be Schroeder playing with Kassian and Booth (lots of size and skill around him).

            VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
            Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
      • By-Tor
        April 24, 2012

        The way you could interpret it is that he wants to be more like Detroit, who have had no bad periods for nearly 20 years, but simply reload, stock for both now and the future, and just keep on winning. The Canucks aren’t there yet, but we certainly could be on the way to being like that.

        VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
        Rating: +13 (from 13 votes)
    • Brent
      April 24, 2012

      I don’t know if Gillis planned not to go far in the playoffs. This team should have gone further in the playoffs than it did and it was just an unfortunate chain of events that led us to get LA, arguably the worst opponent of the whole lot, in the first round. Any other team than LA, except for maybe the Blues, and we would have made it to the second round.

      VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: +13 (from 15 votes)
  3. Chris the Curmudgeon
    April 24, 2012

    Amazing how quickly we’re all willing to give the GM a free pass for mailing in a season where the team finished first in the entire NHL. Or how we’re so quick to turn on Cody just because his “camp” (read: idiot extraordinaire agent Rich Winter) was a loudmouth in trying to get Cody more icetime. Fact was, here’s a 20 year-old kid the team controls for the foreseeable future. He has obvious scoring and playmaking abilities that put him in rarefied air amongst players of any age, and a strong work ethic to match. He’s been known for his strong leadership abilities at every level and the team veterans had clearly accepted him as part of the group. And yet somehow there’s this perception that he was done, his relationship with the franchise irreparably broken (relationships take work, people), over what a good GM would have written up to a minor kerfuffle. And even you Bulies are not totally innocent, for forever focusing your heads on one Abdelkader goal and never writing about how defence is a skill that can be learned (more than offensive talent, which is largely innate), and upper body strength can grow considerably over the summer for players of Cody’s age and physical development.

    No one’s going to be too surprised at my take on all of this, but all I see is a pudgy, slow, “power” forward who excels at throwing glove punches after the whistle and keeping the bench warm and toasty, who could barely crack the roster in the AHL for a team that was absolutely desperate for grit. Kassian might develop into more, sure, but the Lucic and Bertuzzi comparisons are so much hyperbole for a type of player with just as much potential to bust acquired at the cost of a blue chip talent. Any way I can think to slice it, it’s a huge headscratcher by Gillis.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: -6 (from 40 votes)
    • Warpstone
      April 24, 2012

      Urr, at the same time, the original point regarding ice time still stands: 33 and 17 aren’t going anywhere soon. The third scoring line idea is cute, but are you watching the playoffs? That would be committing the Canucks even further away from a team that can roll playoff calibre lines.

      Cody will probably be a good center in this league. He will not be a top 6 winger and he will not supplant the Canucks centers any time soon. Oh, and he obviously brings his own amount of baggage since what rookie agitates on a championship caliber team?

      I don’t think this one’s MG very much at this point. If anything, it sounds like he did a great job “Moneyballing” with the bad hand Cody’s “Camp” gave him.

      VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: +16 (from 18 votes)
      • akidd
        April 24, 2012

        to be fair, the canucks totally gong-showed the whole back-injury episode.

        VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
        Rating: +3 (from 15 votes)
      • Chris the Curmudgeon
        April 24, 2012

        I think he could’ve easily supplanted Kesler over to the wing. Kesler’s playmaking ability is very limited (this was equally clear last season), and that line suffered from a severe lack of said ability, especially during the playoffs. And I wholeheartedly disagree about the “rolling lines” comment. If anything, the mistake was to add yet another checker in Pahlsson to a team that had them in spades. What’s the point in having so many good “two way” players up and down your lineup if you’re just going to move scorers for checkers?

        Gillis could’ve averted so much trouble by taking a more firm stand here. “He’s not getting traded, he’ll be in the NHL playing a major role for years to come, period” and what are Mr. Hodgson and Rich Winter going to do? Hold out when the guy has no rights and clearly wants to be on the ice? Make a big stink in the media and get Cody to cut them out himself? Still boils down to bad asset management by the GM.

        VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
        Rating: -3 (from 13 votes)
        • akidd
          April 24, 2012

          kesler was still a stud on the defensive side of the puck. and he does that from the centre position. i was musing to myself about kesler playing 3rd line centre plus pk and top pp. he could still get 20 mins per game. but coho is no longer here so there’s no point to spend too much time on it. and kesler should hopefully be a different dog next year.

          VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
          Rating: +5 (from 5 votes)
    • peanutflower
      April 24, 2012

      Well, you’ve kind of missed the point really. It sounds like whatever player Cody could have been, and I guess we’ll all see that happen or not happen, it just wasn’t worth the aggravation. The Canucks and Cody’s “camp” had plenty of time for relationshp building, and let’s not kid anyone, these are supposed to be men playing, not youngsters, and relationship building should not be a priority to player success. I suspect that Cody and his entourage were given the chance and as much was done by the Canucks management as they were going to do. Just like booting O’Brien out the door. The team doesn’t need emotional backage. With a dad like Chris Hodgson demanding change I imagine Gillis was looking for a way to maximize his return on Hodgson some time ago.

      VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: +18 (from 20 votes)
    • akidd
      April 24, 2012

      i think the relationship had soured going back to the back injury days. way too early to start judging kassian. WAY too early.

      VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: +16 (from 16 votes)
  4. Warpstone
    April 24, 2012

    But wait, what does Ritch Winter think really happened? :D

    It’s very interesting watching the Ontario-based media react to this story given that they went out of their way to paint Hodgson as absolutely faultless in terms of his role in getting dealt from a team planning on a cup run.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +13 (from 15 votes)
    • peanutflower
      April 24, 2012

      is there a recent ON story on this, or just the ones from back during the trade? I’m curious, but not so curious to go hunting for them…

      VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
      • Warpstone
        April 24, 2012

        I haven’t seen anything besides a few lines from Gillis being replayed on the national media so far.

        What I want to see is the likes of Jeff Marek, who thinks Hodgson could do no wrong, react to this.

        Elliotte Friedman (to his credit) was one of the few notable easterners at the time of the trade who mentioned the suspicion that Cody might have complained his way out of town.

        VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
        Rating: +3 (from 3 votes)
        • J21 (@Jyrki21)
          April 25, 2012

          Elliotte Friedman is the one CBC guy who consistently puts any agenda aside and just reports. That guy is their top asset as far as I’m concerned. (Making it a matter of time before TSN snatches him up, I guess?)

          VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
          Rating: +8 (from 8 votes)
  5. Brent
    April 24, 2012

    I feel sorry for sad Cody. To have an agent and a Dad like that must make for difficult times. I guess he could always pick a new agent (if his Dad approved) but unlike your nose or your friends, you can’t pick your family.

    Hope things go well for him in Buffalo!

    Maybe he should check out the movie Buffalo Rider, could change his life.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +12 (from 12 votes)
    • Nick
      April 24, 2012

      Hopefully he’s caught in the middle of things as much in Buffalo, and becomes his own man soon.

      VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: +3 (from 3 votes)
    • Nick
      April 24, 2012

      Meant to say “not” caught in the middle of things.

      VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: +2 (from 2 votes)
  6. MelT
    April 24, 2012

    What I don’t understand is why Gillis came out with this information. Doesn’t that start to taint every future trade, as GM’s wonder if attractive Canucks players are just another pig with lipstick slapped on? Is Gillis worried about his own future or merely sick of taking questions on why we didn’t have enough offense?

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +10 (from 12 votes)
  7. Nick
    April 24, 2012

    Cody’s father is a powerful personality and, I’m sure, a handful to deal with. He was Mike Harris’ right-hand man when the Conservatives were in power in Ontario in the 90s, and was seen as a strong contender to be premier himself.

    He also won his northern Ontario riding, according to some, by appealing to homophobic prejudice; and when he was in charge of handing the Ipperwash Inquiry, he purportedly said “Get the f*cking Indians out of my park.” So I can see how a man like this wouldn’t have qualms about getting involved and pressuring the manager of his son’s hockey team.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chris_Hodgson

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +13 (from 13 votes)
    • Ibitz
      April 24, 2012

      Agreed. Chris Hodgson probably took a page out of the Mr and Mrs Lindros book.

      VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: +9 (from 9 votes)
  8. Zach Morris
    April 24, 2012

    -shocked

    He’s the hero Vancouver needs, not the one it deserves.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: -5 (from 11 votes)
    • Zach Morris
      April 24, 2012

      *Gillis is the hero Vancouver needs, not the one it deserves.

      VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: +21 (from 23 votes)
      • peanutflower
        April 24, 2012

        For a sec there…

        VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
        Rating: +3 (from 3 votes)
        • Zach Morris
          April 24, 2012

          Yeah, any way we could get an “edit” or “delete” function for the comments section?

          VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
          Rating: +5 (from 5 votes)
          • peanutflower
            April 24, 2012

            or a way to place replies under what you’re actually replying to?

            VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
            Rating: +4 (from 4 votes)
  9. jimjam22
    April 24, 2012

    Obviously it got personal for Gillis and he made the move. What rookie doesn’t get “protected minutes”? It’s part of the normal player development process. I still don’t think the Canucks in general had the Will this year to go deep given how much they put out last year, but one of the new wildcards this year was supposed to be a third line and a second powerplay that could score. Why not make the move after Hodgson had a playoff to showcase himself? Was his Dad and agent really that intolerable? I mean Gillis spent decades as an Agent, if anyone should know how to handle a busybody Dad and Agent it should have been him. Kassian was far less of a contributor than Hodgson could have been given the chance and if the “window” closes on this group before Kassian develops (since power forwards apparently take years to learn how to hit people and go to the front of the net) anyway then what’s the point?

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: 0 (from 10 votes)
    • Daniel Wagner
      April 24, 2012

      Adam Henrique. Gabriel Landeskog. Matt Read. Jared Cowen. Sean Couturier. Justin Faulk. Jake Gardiner. All rookies. None of them played protected minutes.

      VN:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: +10 (from 12 votes)
      • Chris the Curmudgeon
        April 24, 2012

        Oh Jesus, when can we stop saying “protected minutes”? What does that even mean? As if “zone starts” are all you need to know about a shift. As PITB highlighted earlier in the year, Hodgson’s icetime patterns were very similar to 2 other centers’ in their first years as Canucks, namely Sedin and Kesler.

        Hodgson’s “defensive deficiencies” are being grossly overstated, and frankly I’m sick of picturing you guys, in your heads picturing Justin Abdelkader beating Cody in front of the net one time, and deciding that’s all one needs to know about Hodgson’s defensive abilities. The kid could pass, shoot and backcheck, and he had linemates who were perfectly capable of matching up against bigger wingers when Cody couldn’t. Nothing, in the stats or otherwise, would indicate that Cody was a liability on the team. Sure it was an adjustment for him to play 1st line minutes that he wasn’t used to when he got traded to Buffalo. But I’d still take 13 minutes per game of Cody over 4 minutes of Kassian, in the regular season or in the playoffs. Cody was 2nd in the league in TOI for rookie centers this season, after Henrique, who’s the same age as Cody without a year of conditioning lost to serious injury. You all talk like the guy could only manage 5 minutes a game without fainting due to exhaustion or being exploited by the other team’s 4th line or something. That simply is not how it went.

        VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
        Rating: -5 (from 19 votes)
        • Daniel Wagner
          April 24, 2012

          Hodgson’s icetime was similar to Henrik and Kesler, not his usage.

          What we’re talking about has nothing to do with the Abdelkader goal, which I had honestly forgotten. It has everything to do with his possession numbers, which were not good. Hodgson is a very good player who may turn out to be a great player. I really like him and I hope the best for him. The fact is that he struggled defensively, even against lesser competition. Once he faced tougher competition in Buffalo, he saw a lot of goals against when he was on the ice. It’s not that he can’t play more minutes or that he won’t develop the defensive side of his game over time, but it wasn’t there this season.

          I’ll have a post up tomorrow that might explain more why I still like the trade, though it didn’t turn out like I expected this season.

          VN:F [1.9.16_1159]
          Rating: +3 (from 5 votes)
          • Chris the Curmudgeon
            April 24, 2012

            But again, it’s easier to teach an offensively talented guy to play defence than the other way around, provided they’re willing to learn. Hockey sense and intuition are the two intangibles that are simply unteachable, and Cody had both. That’s why no matter what his numbers may say, I think the trade was a mistake, because it’s those guys with the je-ne-sais-quoi that are really irreplaceable, and Cody was one, while Kassian, for as much as he may get better, plainly is not. And come on, Henrik’s minutes in his rookie season were easily as “sheltered” as Cody’s were this year. The team was wisely very patient with the Sedin twins for the same reason as they should’ve been with Cody, but instead they gave him away for negligible short term gain, plus maybe an end to what should’ve been a very minor headache for Gillis with Ritch Winter.

            VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
            Rating: 0 (from 4 votes)
            • peanutflower
              April 24, 2012

              That all that being said, it’s obvious there was something more than “a very minor headache”. Honestly, Gillis wasn’t just going to punt a good player out the door just because he was annoying. We will never know the full real story. Gillis gave just about as much as he was going to give. It’s pointless to what if it all to death.

              VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
              Rating: +9 (from 9 votes)
            • Daniel Wagner
              April 25, 2012

              I think it’s absurd to write off Kassian at this point in his development. He produced at a higher rate than Hodgson at the same age in the AHL, scoring 15 goals and 26 points in 30 games, while Hodgson scored 30 points in 52 games. Last season, Hodgson played just 8 games during the regular season; this year, at the same age, Kassian has played 44.

              Yes, Hodgson has good hockey sense and he’s an intelligent player, and those are unteachable qualities. So is size. The combination of size and skill in a player like Kassian is very rare and I think you’re ignoring how much upside Kassian really has.

              VN:F [1.9.16_1159]
              Rating: +8 (from 8 votes)
        • Tom Benjamin
          April 24, 2012

          Hodgson can pass and shoot and he has excellent offensive instincts. I don’t like anything else about his game. While I expect him to get better, I don’t think he will ever be very good without the puck. He doesn’t have the speed to get to where he has to go and he doesn’t have the physique to separate guys from the puck when he gets there.

          I try to project players according to other young players I’ve seen over the years. Hodgson reminds me most of Kyle Wellwood at the same age. They have the same skillset, the same weaknesses. If he becomes as good as Mike Ribero, I’ll be surprised. If he becomes better than Ribero, I’ll be shocked. That’s pretty good (and even Wellwood isn’t terrible), but it doesn’t seem to me to be anything to really get excited about.

          Who do you think the Canucks traded away? Who does he remind you of? Why do you think he is going to be so good that you think trading him – for whatever – is a big mistake?

          VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
          Rating: +11 (from 11 votes)
  10. Hannah
    April 24, 2012

    Hodgson was one of my favourite players and I almost cried when he was traded, but if he didn’t want to be here I guess there’s nothing they could’ve done about it.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +6 (from 8 votes)
  11. Ibitz
    April 24, 2012

    One gets the impression that Hodgson is high-maintenance brat from a privileged family that couldn’t stand being drafted by the Canucks. Glad he got traded.

    GO KASSIAN!!!

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +11 (from 13 votes)
  12. MB13
    April 24, 2012

    I’m utterly shocked that Harrison wrote an entire article about Gillis without a bad thing to say. (sarcasm).

    Where can I drop off the pom-poms and cheerleading outfit?

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: -9 (from 13 votes)
  13. Mark
    April 24, 2012

    The Canucks need to hire Thomas Drance immediately…. he predicted this team meltdown in February with some very compelling arguments. They could use more people like this on the payroll!

    Keep AV, keep Gillis, and don’t overact… 4 months for a full recovery this summer will make for another long run. Kassian will be a keeper

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +8 (from 8 votes)
    • Andre
      April 25, 2012

      I like better GMMG’s explanation that the team could never rise beyond the physical and emotional peak demanded by the Jan 7 Boston game, rather than the Drance statistical explanation. At least, I find that GMMG’s explanation brings understanding, whereas Drance’s analysis explains nothing.

      As a player and as a team, the playoffs are supposed to bring out the best in you. That wasn’t the case for us: the Boston-Van rematch was that time. It was our chance to say that we can beat Thomas and his team, that they don’t own us – when we’re healthy – the way they did in games 6 and 7.

      None of the subsequent games had the same meaning, or need for us to prove ourselves: we had proven to ourselves what we needed to prove in that one game.

      The team now needs a “Luongo reset”. Only then will we find the physical and emotional fortitude needed to win the Cup.

      VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: -1 (from 5 votes)
    • MB13
      April 25, 2012

      So if Boston wins tonight – what’s the excuse? A team with even more reason to have a hangover the following season goes farther in the playoffs than the Canucks.

      Detroit and Pitt went to the finals back to back. Pretty much every team in the past 5 years that went to the Cup finals made it out of the 1st round the following year (save Chicago who didn’t roll over when down 3-0).

      All sounds like a bunch of excuses whether Cody (they drafted the guy – don’t you do some research on him first or did his Dad come out of the woodwork recently), long playoffs last year, Daniel injury (Boston came back from 2-0 down in the series without Horton and Savard – teams have to fight through injuries) or your flavor of the day.

      Harrison – when I read your articles I’m reminded of a Simpsons episode where the great Homer Simpson said, “Oh, people can come up with statistics to prove anything, Kent. 14% of people know that”. Hindsight’s great, isn’t it.

      VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: -7 (from 7 votes)
  14. shoes
    April 25, 2012

    Hodgson and his agent/family situation were reminding me of the Lindros thing years ago. The differerence being Lindros was a #1 and Hodgson a #10 . You cannot have a stick in the spokes and for whatever reason he probably had to go.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +3 (from 3 votes)
  15. J21 (@Jyrki21)
    April 25, 2012

    My thoughts on the matter:

    1) This was mentioned by someone else above, but if the deployment of Cody in January was entirely strategic, why tell everyone this? This reminds me of how Billy Beane essentially surrendered his advantage when he let Michael Lewis shadow him for Moneyball — his patent on his strategic methods expired, so to speak, and the world learned exactly how he kept his team competitive. Now all the teams employ sabermetrics, and the advantage of having money has been entirely restored.

    Gillis should have either stayed quiet or brought out the old clichés of “seeing a player we really liked, and you have to give to get, etc.” Apart from other GMs questioning their motives now, you have the potential to worry young players. (“Wait, Vigneault put me on the power play? Crap, does this mean I’m about to get traded? I totally just put a deposit down on that condo…”)

    2) The interference of Chris Hodgson / Ritch Winter aside (that guy needs a [sic] in his name, seriously… every time I see ‘Ritch’ I do a double-take), there is something to be said about failing to see the forest for the trees. If Vigneault placed Hodgson in better ice-time as part of a value-inflating exercise, and the guy did really well, perhaps that means that there is a certain logic in playing him in those minutes rather than just getting excited about the expected return…! (I picture Pat Quinn rubbing his hands together after Pavel Bure hit 60 going “Man, this guy is going to net us so much in a trade!”)

    I understand the point about defensive play and unsustainable shooting percentage. But it does seem hard to argue with the fact that he was thriving in the role, and perhaps, just perhaps, there was something to this whole “ice time” issue. Not saying it justifies dealing with Ritch “Why didn’t Daniel just call me? I totally would have hung out with him” Winter on a daily basis, or Chris “I must have slept through Lindros-gate” Hodgson, but on pure hockey terms, there seemed to be something to his performance when given the chance. Petr Nedved and his agent Tony Kondel may have been jerks when they orchestrated his trade out of Vancouver following a 38-goal season, but again, they wouldn’t be incorrect in observing that Petr had taken advantage of his increased role when given the chance.

    3) The natural rebuttal is “Yeah, but Henrik and Kesler”, meaning, “We’d love to give the kid some prettier minutes, but we can’t displace our two established centers”. But this is kind of short-term thinking. Kesler is becoming injury-prone with his playing style and seems never to have fully recovered from his surgery last offseason (and now has apparently gone under the knife for his shoulder). Between the very realistic possibility of his deterioration, and the fact that he could very well be a trade chip in the future (he would be a coveted player, he doesn’t have a NTC, and if the team ever wanted an attitude adjustment his name would unquestionably surface), it seems silly just to assume that he and Henrik have the top two spots locked up forever. How many of us thought that the Canucks’ 2004 first rounder might one day displace Luongo in his first couple of years with the team?

    4) This is kind of a separate issue, but whether or not Kassian becomes awesome, I still don’t like a power forward as the return. I have explained this here before, but I think power forwards are very un-Moneypuck. They require years of investment, they are high-risk to begin with, their peak years tend to be short, and they are injury prone. I think people are seduced by the prospect of the complete package, but should take a moment to wonder why there are so few of them in the league (everyone always name-drops the same handful from like a 30-year period — Gillies, Neely, Leclair, Bertuzzi, Lucic, etc.), why so many get injured a lot, and why several are given up on by their organization, who doesn’t have the time/patience to develop them after all. (Neely, Leclair and Bertuzzi were all traded before their peaks, for instance). For every Neely the Canucks have drafted (one, if you’re keeping score), they have taken three Stojanovs.

    In this respect, like goalies, I think power forwards are not really good as high draft picks because of the amount of investment required for the payoff. Better to accumulate other assets then swap them for something else (like a goalie) when you need it. Use high picks on surer things that will perform longer.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +8 (from 10 votes)
  16. Tamara B
    April 25, 2012

    My take is this — and pretty much always was — You don’t trade away guarantees for what ifs… therefore, CoHo was never a guarantee. (of greatness)

    Frankly, knowing now who his father is, I’m not at all surprised his particular brand of pouting etc. got him traded. As for why GMMG would say something NOW, it would be to shut up everyone still moaning about how if Coho was still here… blah blah blah. He didn’t want to be here, he made it clear.

    I also thought the whole season that the play was lackluster, the heart of the Canucks was not engaged. To come off such a loss will take more than a summer to fix, like anyone completely in love and dumped unawares… the heart takes a beating.

    My guess and my HOPE is that 2013 is the Canucks year!

    (and I love Kassian and his endearing little toothless, maniacal grin. Can’t wait to see how he develops)

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: +5 (from 5 votes)
  17. rog
    April 25, 2012

    i dont believe a worg gilis says.he should be fireda s he is so useless in his trades.trying to showcase hodgson.what a laff.when they drafted hodgs they knew he was going to be good but their stupid try to change the player regime doesnt work.gillis made dumb trades and i for one says aqui should dump gillis first.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: -5 (from 7 votes)
  18. FK
    April 25, 2012

    Wow, that IS a gutsy way to run an organization. I’m going to step out on a limb here and suggest that Schneider may have gotten the same treatment? Imagine an organization ballsy enough that when confronted with a 50/50 goaltending situation in the playoffs, they opt to pad the value of their greatest trading piece. After all, by the time Luongo is no longer giving us a chance to win the cup, I would expect Eddie Lack to be ready to step up. This kind of long term thinking gives me hope that we will have a good team for many years to come and cups tend to eventually come with that kind of success.

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  19. tc
    April 25, 2012

    This current canuck team has had its time in the sun. they won 2 president trophies and went to the finals. now they will be going down from here. Gillis is not some great GM. He tried building a cup winning team and fell short. No tweaking will improve that as long as the canucks have the sedins, kesler, burrows and some of the others that cannot handle the adversity of tough playoff hockey. It is not a matter of getting a tough guy in. it is a matter of having a tough team which the canucks are not.
    As for hodgson gillis is full of it. He only had hodgson up for this year and 8 games last year. so for him to claim he had more issues with a guy in the farm system more then the rest of the team combined is crap

    VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
    Rating: -3 (from 9 votes)
    • Daniel Wagner
      April 25, 2012

      You don’t know Hodgson’s agent, then. There’s a reason why no one is questioning Gillis’s assertion that he had more issues with Hodgson than anyone else. It’s completely believable.

      As for the Canucks chances, it’s a little odd to say that they can’t handle the adversity of the playoffs when they went to game seven of the Stanley Cup Final just last year.

      VN:F [1.9.16_1159]
      Rating: +3 (from 5 votes)
      • MB13
        April 25, 2012

        Does everyone here drink from the same Gillis Kook-Aid glass or do you each have your own?

        The guy was gifted a team with two Art Ross winners, a Selke winner, a Vezina nominated goalie, a defense core that includes Bieksa, Edler, Salo, a underrated performer willing take less money (Burrows) and a future Vezina nomimated goalie. He claimed the cubpboard is bare yet has stocked it with virtually nothing but Florida rejects on bad contracts and Hamhuis (who pretty much told the Canucks he was playing here).

        The media is terrified to say anything anti-Gillis (Harrison Mooney anyone) because they are worried they’ll be the next Larscheid.

        He’s a salesman folks (hello – former agent). Since when does anybody believe a word they say? Other than Harrison.

        VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
        Rating: -6 (from 6 votes)
        • Harrison Mooney
          April 25, 2012

          Ha! Gillis isn’t going to force me out. I’m hardly in.

          VN:F [1.9.16_1159]
          Rating: +2 (from 2 votes)
          • MB13
            April 26, 2012

            Makes me wonder why you cheer-lead… at least the other guys in town have to worry about their livelihood. Would have hoped somebody would take a more critical approach with this team.

            There is a market for devil’s advocate (Gillis isn’t some wizard but benefited from strong core upon arrival and a weak division) out there – haven’t found anybody willing to fill that gap.

            I’m not saying Gillis has not done good things, but why must everyone give him the benefit of the doubt when things fail. The Hodgson trade is a perfect example – everyone assumes that Kassian will become fair return if he develops. That assumes that this regime can evaluate talent. Other than Higgins, I would say this regime has been disastrous at evaluating talent and finding people to overperform expecations. Why do we think Kassian will be different?

            VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
            Rating: -3 (from 3 votes)
      • tc
        April 26, 2012

        Or maybe no one from the Hodgson camp is saying anything because they do not want to be as classless as gillis and air the situation in public. all gillis was doing was trying to make out that he made a good deal when he made a crappy one.

        as for the team as a whole they really showed their ability to overcome adversity. they lose 3 straight to chicago and so before game 7 gillis whines in the media about the officiating and they get favorable offiicating in game 7. They make the finals and are only able to muster 8 goals in 7 games. the three games they won could have gone either way. and where were all the big players on the team. they were not scoring, they were doing alot of diving and whining and they basically did not show up to play the bruins. now this year they face the kings and could not manage more than a single win against a team that played harder, tougher and better. again the so called superstars on the team were non existent. henrik sedin couldnt even do anything without his brother playing. not the sign of a superestar.

        VA:F [1.9.16_1159]
        Rating: -1 (from 7 votes)