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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.Cody Hodgson, Every Goal, every goal 2011-12