Cody Hodgson may not have had many friends in the Canucks’ organization by the time he left, but he certainly had a lot of fans. His knack for timely, pretty goals saw to that. He was the Canucks’ best offensive prospect in years, which won him more than his fair share of hearts.
As for me, I’m going to be honest: I’m glad he’s gone. Not so much because I didn’t like the way he played — I did — but because he was Vancouver’s version of the cube from Transformers or The Avengers: an unstable, much-ballyhooed cosmic item that just makes everyone fight. The man was a lightning rod for controversy, and he left the Vancouver fanbase in a state of Civil War.
After this post, you’ll understand why people felt so passionately about Hodgson, because reading this post is like only eating the frosting in a pack of Dunkaroos. Since they’re goals, each video takes place in the offensive zone, which is where Hodgson did his best work and where his shortcomings — poor skating and backchecking — were at their least noticeable. Since most people don’t watch players when they don’t have the puck, Hodgson likely looked perfect.
If you don’t keep that in mind as we review his goals, you’re going to get really, really mad. Heck, you might still get mad. Maybe you’re already mad. I don’t know your story. Friendly tip: if you want to sound off, the comments section is below. Friendly warning: if you want to avoid conflict, the comments section is below.
Hodgson’s first goal of the season (and second of his NHL career) comes on a beautiful set play, as he wins the draw back to the point, where Dan Hamhuis darts down the wall with it. As the Jackets get confused, Hodgson is left alone at the dot, and he goes straight to the net to tip in Hamhuis’s pass. Note the presence of Mikael Samuelsson and Marco Sturm in the group hug. It’s like this goal takes place in a parallel universe or something.
If you ask me, this should have been a beautiful assist. Hodgson gains the Edmonton zone with speed, draws both Oiler defenders to him, then makes a nifty backhand pass to Manny Malhotra, who is completely alone. Unfortunately, Malhotra’s so used to life in the defensive zone that he protects the puck and takes it behind the net. But all is not lost. Malhotra’s second instinct is to continue protecting the puck and give it to a defenceman, Alex Edler. Edler finds Hodgson, who does what he clearly should have done all along and shoots it himself for the goal.
Maxim Lapierre creates this goal with a healthy dollop of help from the Calgary defence. After winning a race to the puck along the far wall, he jukes out Tom Kostopoulos, then centers for Hodgson, who is wide open at the side of the goal. Pay special attention to Mark Giordano, who directs traffic entering the zone, then sets up a cot in the faceoff circle and puts on a movie.
This is the goal that should make Mike Gillis critics the angriest. Why? It’s created by Michael Grabner and Cody Hodgson. After Aaron Rome’s point shot deflects off Grabner, Hodgson buries it at the side of the goal. Unbelievable chemistry by those two. Gillis, you fool!
This is just a gorgeous give-and-go by Hodgson and Higgins. Hodgson makes the pass to Higgins down below the goal line, then blows by a snoozing Martin Erat for the return pass. Be sure to watch the second replay, where Higgins’s patience and stickhandling on the return pass are on display. It’s “Chris Higgins’s torso” pretty.
Hodgson’s in the right place at the right time here. Mason Raymond burns into the Canadiens zone and fires a wrist shot, only to have it blocked by P.K. Subban, who pushes it to Hodgson. Hodgson buries it like it’s Beatrix Kiddo. Silly Subban. If he’d spent any time talking to Vancouver fans, he’d have known that the wiser play would have been to push it back to Raymond.
I call this goal Greta Garbo, because it’s old-school and sexy. After Manny Malhotra wins a puck battle at the blueline, he banks it down the wall to Jannik Hansen, who spots Cody Hodgson streaking through the neutral zone like a drunken undergrad. Hodgson steps across the blueline, and with Nicklas Lidstrom bearing down on him, he does the right thing, getting the puck away quickly by slapping it like it was getting fresh with him. True fact: the “ping” it makes on the way in is so dirty it earned this game an R rating from the MPAA.
And now it’s time for another episode of Toni Lydman’s dos and don’ts. Do: let your goaltender see the shot, so he can stop it. Don’t: go out of your way to crosscheck your man in the back multiple times, especially when he’s coming directly at you, and the rebound is directly in your way. This has been another episode of Toni Lydman’s dos and don’ts.
Cody Hodgson, Cody Hodgson Controversies, every goal 2011-12