Every Goal, 2011-12: Cody Hodgson, part two

Through the first three months of the season, Cody Hodgson had done some good work unmaking his unfair reputation among fans as a draft bust. But it wasn’t until January that he earned a new, sexier, unfair reputation. In the first month of 2012, Hodgson capitalized on some advantageous adjustments made in his usage with 6 goals, 4 assists, and a rookie of the month award.

Later we would learn that the Canucks had made some adjustments to his deployment in an effort to pump up his trade value, a move that clearly worked. In fact, it worked too well, as his performance in January turned his fans into full-blown cultists. His trade in February shocked and confused everyone — I mean, how can you trade the one true god?

But even those of us who weren’t building a spaceship to Blisstonia were baffled. We tried our best to make sense of the reasoning behind the trade and eventually came to accept it with a few reservations, but at the time, it was hard to imagine anyone ever considering moving this guy out of town. Watching the back half of Hodgson’s 16 goals will take you back to that time.

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9 | January 2 vs San Jose Sharks

This goal may be the product of an excellent Hodgson one-timer off an excellent Dan Hamhuis setup, but let’s give extra props to Kevin Bieksa, who earns the zone entry by backing off the Sharks with his burst of speed and sudden stop coming out of the Vancouver end. Another thing to note: the impeccable timing, as Hamhuis’s pass comes the moment Chris Higgins draws Brent Burns away from the slot to the goalmouth, and the shot comes the moment Burns inadvertently screens his goaltender coming across to move Higgins out of the way.

10 | January 7 vs Boston Bruins

Hodgson reprises his gorgeous goal versus the Red Wings in the infamous Boston game, taking a pass from Hamhuis, then ringing a slapper off the post. The sound is so sexy, it immediately gets asked to appear in Sports Illustrated’s next swimsuit issue. The goal completely stuns Tim Thomas, who reacts like the president just walked into the room by just kind of sitting there unimpressed for a few seconds afterward.

11 | January 15 vs Anaheim Ducks

Speaking of reprises, this clip features a lot of elements we’ve seen from the 10 Cody Hodgson goals that precede it: it’s from the dot on the powerplay, it features assists from Chris Higgins and Dan Hamhuis, who appear to have formed some secret Triple-H club with Hodgson, and it brings us to another episode of Toni Lydman’s dos and don’ts. Do: deflect centring passes away from your goal, which it is your job as a defenceman to protect on the powerplay. Don’t: celebrate your success by abandoning your post to go for a skate up the far wall. This has been another episode of Toni Lydman’s dos and don’ts

12 | January 21 vs San Jose Sharks

After Michael Handzus loses a draw, Mason Raymond puts a quick wrist shot on goal, and Hodgson hastily shovels home the rebound on the backhand. Also note Jannik Hansen, who draws two Sharks with ease, like he’s swimming in the ocean with a gaping wound.

13 | January 21 vs San Jose Sharks

Very similar to the last goal. It comes off a won faceoff for the Canucks against the Sharks’ third line, Mason Raymond makes a slick, speedy move to get things started (seriously, that stutter-step is gorgeous), and Hodgson finishes. Handzus actually gets victimized twice here, as Hodgson’s centring pass from the corner goes in off his stick.

14 | January 31 vs Chicago Blackhawks

The final goal of Cody Hodgson’s monster January is a breakaway marker, with Hodgson taking a feed from Dan Hamhuis and going high glove on Corey Crawford. It’s a nice finish, but frankly, I’m way more into Hamhuis’s insane pass, a zone clear on an entry breakup converted into a tape-to-tape backhand feed. If you’re wondering what makes Dan Hamhuis a top-pairing defenceman, it’s stuff like that. Other guys would have banked that off the glass or simply knocked it out to center any way they could. Hamhuis flawlessly creates a breakaway.

15 | February 11 vs Calgary Flames

Playing on a line with Mike Duco and Maxim Lapierre, because that’s what 14 goals will get you, Hodgson makes the Flames pay for some scrambly defensive play by shoveling home another rebound on the backhand. Kudos to Alex Edler, who shows some real poise by keeping the puck and stepping around his man rather than trying to force a shot through. If he doesn’t do that, this might be a breakaway in the other direction.

16 | February 23 vs Detroit Red Wings

Hodgson’s final goal as a Canuck is a big, game-tying marker with six minutes to go in a game versus Detroit. First, he shows a nice bit of patience, second-guessing a shot through traffic and curling back towards the wall before using Aaron Rome as a pick and getting some distance from his man. The moment he sees some daylight, he tries to make a pass to Mason Raymond, but the puck is fortunate enough to find Nicklas Kronwall facing the wrong way instead. Kronwall, who only knows how to make contact with things when his back is to them, deflects this one in off the heel of his skate.


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16 comments

  1. JDM
    July 17, 2012

    I actually think he was trying to hit Booth on that last one.

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  2. Cody
    July 17, 2012

    That Boston slapper made me so very happy. I just remember how silent the building was after that gorgeous ping sound.

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    • SteveB
      July 17, 2012

      Ping! “I don’t think John Garrett in his prime would have caught that one.”

      What a wonderful goal that was!

      I nearly bought a Cody Hodgson jersey that afternoon.

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    • Anonymous
      July 17, 2012

      I still get flashbacks to this day, what a glorious moment.

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      Rating: +7 (from 7 votes)
    • Rituro
      July 17, 2012

      Trade the player, re-assign the number… you can’t take that ringing echo away. What a memory.

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  3. Wagman
    July 17, 2012

    Some fuel for the anti-trade crowd… (or fans of that goal against Boston, and the one against Detroit, and…)

    Canucks 2011-12 pre-Hodgson trade: 40-16-7; post trade: 11-6-2 (and then 1-4 in Round 1).

    However, with admitted adjustments to “boost trade-value”, Canucks went 16-3-5 with Hodgson in 2012 (regardless of advanced stats).

    Maybe they should have just stuck with the adjustments (sheltering, offensive zone starts, etc)? Yes, Daniel Sedin missed the end of the season – maybe even more reason to have kept CoHo around?

    Anyway, what’s done is done – hopefully Kassian looks better this season (>16 goals? We could really use some additional scoring, especially on PP2, as well as defensively responsible players).

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    • Frank N.
      July 17, 2012

      Agreed Wagman. Would be nice to see Kassian improve.
      Having said that, I have to wonder where on the team he would be able to do that!? I don’t see AV play him as a second line winger (not enough experience) and even if he would, Kassian wouldn’t benefit optimally as Kesler is not really a playmaker. Third line time perhaps? Again, don’t see that happening as we have two excellent 3rd line wingers in Higgins and Hansen. So that leaves 4th line duty, which is not really optimal either as he would be used in a different role than he was acquired for.

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    • Phileo99
      July 17, 2012

      The “adjustments” not only boosted CoHo’s trade value, it also boosted the Canucks record, and morale. Note that CoHo won rookie of the month in Jan/12 despite being limited to only 12min. playing time per game on average.

      Unfortunately, AV only saw the re-structuring of the team’s play around CoHo as temporary. However, I fail to understand what is the issue with giving CoHo sheltered minutes if doing so actually helps the team win. Isn’t that the bottom line? CoHo was an offensive weapon, another tool for the toolbox. Sure, he’s got defensive liabilities, but he’s only 22, and his best years are still ahead of him. The Canucks used CoHo in the right way, but failed to see that as a viable model for the team going forward.

      How was CoHo rewarded for achieving rookie of the month honours? New linemates in Duco and Lapierre and reduced playing time. Utterly Ridonkulous!!!
      MGGM and AV keep pining for a power forward, but CoHo demonstrated how the Canucks can win, and win big with a different style of play: 2 “sheltered” offensive lines (Sedins, CoHo/Higgins/Hansen), 2 defensive/checking lines (Kesler and Lapierre’s lines).
      MGGM dropped the ball on this one.

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      • Daniel Wagner
        July 17, 2012

        The issue with this argument is that Hodgson wasn’t just succeeding because of being sheltered: he was riding a string of unsustainable percentages. It wasn’t a “viable model for the team” because there was no way he was going to experience the same success in that role long term.

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        • Frank N.
          July 18, 2012

          Says who? Statistics is only an explanation after the facts, as the current behaviour, success and failure is determining the very statistics. Yes, on average and long term, statistic can be used to somewhat predict behaviour, success and failure (although it’s only a prediction at best!). But since his size sample was so small, what if his behaviour and success numbers would just be higher than anything else seen before because he would thrive under the model of sheltered minutes?! That too is a possibility, albeit perhaps a distinct one.

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          • Daniel Wagner
            July 18, 2012

            I concede that it’s possible that Hodgson is one of the best players in NHL history. I just don’t think it’s very likely.

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        • Phileo99
          July 18, 2012

          I agree, he wasn`t going to win rookie of the month every month.
          I’m curious to know what was the cause of his unsustainable percentages. Was it because he was getting sheltered minutes, or was it just that he was on a hot streak at the right time?
          If it was because he was getting sheltered minutes, then my argument would be to continue to give him sheltered minutes, and he’ll continue to deliver more points !

          My point remains: CoHo showed that the Canucks can win and win big with a different style of play: 2 offensive/sheltered lines and 2 defensive/checking lines

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  4. Cam Neely
    July 17, 2012

    So the Canucks traded away a rising superstar, just like me! And the kid they got in return.. Kassian? Not worth it. The Canucks will never learn!

    Sincerely, Cam Neely.

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  5. akid
    July 17, 2012

    mmm…nice goals. and against all the big teams too–hawks, wings, sharks, bruins. pretty sweet to have a player step up against the biggest rivals. and with the score tight too. makes me think coho likes the heat.

    i have to say this really does open up some wounds. the kid has a knack. i like kassian too but am doubtful he will display the ‘instinct’ that coho has.

    you may not like his corsi rating but how do you like his ‘clutch’ rating?

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