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.

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I Find This Photo Odd: Sad Cody is a lot like Sad Keanu, but sadder

Photographers take photos, but the best photographers tell stories. In sports photography, if you want your photos to be used, you’ll take shots that complement the stories already being told. The Canucks are slumping? Take photos of the team looking down. Roberto Luongo’s struggling? Take photos of the man on his belly — there will be numerous opportunities. Cody Hodgson’s centering fourth line while Mason Raymond’s getting sexy top-six icetime despite far less production?

Take a photo of Raymond and Hodgson on either side of the Sedins, with Raymond watching the results of a shift with the Sedins on the Jumbotron while Hodgson stares straight ahead, clearly miserable.

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I Watched This Game: Canucks at Minnesota Wild, February 9, 2012

Leave it to the Minnesota Wild to put everything into perspective. The Canucks were 7-1-2 in their last 10 games heading into Thursday’s contest — the league’s hottest team — but most Canuck fans would admit that their record was incredibly misleading. Anyone who had actually watched those 10 games could have told you Vancouver had been playing some nigh-unwatchable hockey over that stretch.

Of course, then the Canucks touched town in Minnesota and played some actual unwatchable hockey. My goodness, Canuck nation, are we ever spoiled. For the past 5 games, we’ve griped about the Canucks needing overtime to solve their games, but at least it’s been exciting. Tonight, we were treated to a 60-minute regulation win, and when I say “treated to” I mean “stabbed in the brain with”. Somehow it felt like it lasted twice as long. Seemingly forever, I watched this game.

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Should Cody Hodgson be on the first unit powerplay?

The Vancouver Canucks have the best powerplay in the NHL, but you wouldn’t know it from their last 15 games. The Canucks have gone 9-for-55 in that span for a percentage of 16.4%. That’s including the game against Boston when they went 4-for-11. Take that game out of the equation and you get some ugly-looking math.

While Sami Salo’s injury against Boston hasn’t helped, the Canucks powerplay was struggling even before he got injured. While his victory in the hardest shot competition in the Canucks Superskills on Sunday may be an indication that Salo is close to returning to the lineup, the Canucks need to consider all options to fix the ailing powerplay.

One of those options should be promoting Cody Hodgson to the first unit.

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Cody Hodgson makes goal posts sing with his slapshot

Just one week ago, the Canucks played the Bruins in the most thrilling game of the season. During the contest, Canucks fans witnessed one of the dirtiest things you will ever see in hockey. I’m not talking about Brad Marchand low-bridging Sami Salo; I’m talking about Cody Hodgson’s filthy slapshot that blew past Tim Thomas for the gamewinning goal. It was, as the kids say, sick, ill, and nasty.

You just don’t see slapshots like that any more, at least from a forward’s stick. The slapshot is normally the domain of the hulking blueliner who is able to put a massive amount of leverage on the stick to propel the puck forward. The two modern-day masters of the slapshot are Zdeno Chara, who is 6’9″ and 255 lbs, and Shea Weber, who is 6’4″ and 232 lbs.

Hodgson is an even 6′ and weighs a mere 185 lbs. Yet his slapshot is both blistering and precise.

My favourite part about the goal was the gorgeous sound it made. There is no sweeter sound in hockey than the glorious *ping* of a slapshot that goes off the post and in.

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Cody Hodgson is in an excellent mentorship program

I’ve been talking about Cody Hodgson a fair amount recently and for good reason. The rookie centre has 7 points in his last 9 games while playing limited minutes, is fifth in rookie scoring, and is on pace for 18 goals and 44 points. He’s on his way to what should be considered an incredibly successful rookie year.

As we all know, of course, controversy surrounds Hodgson at all times and the dark times have not passed. Instead of writing about how great Hodgson is, I’ve had to write about how his icetime is comparable to the rookie year’s of other Canucks’ stars (which Alain Vigneault read, apparently) and speculate on who the source of the complaints about his icetime might be.

Despite my best efforts, Tony Gallagher isn’t done talking about Hodgson’s icetime. He has now switched gears to complaining that Hodgson’s lack of icetime somehow hurts Ryan Kesler. Apparently Kesler is receiving far too much icetime, which will obviously cause his body to melt away like Major Toht once the playoffs come around. Never mind that Kesler’s playing fewer than 20 minutes a game and is currently 30th in icetime amongst forwards; his current pace is apparently going to wear him out.

Sigh.

It seems to me that “Silent G” is in the perfect situation for a rookie looking to become an NHL superstar. Unlike the four players ahead of him in the rookie scoring race, who play on teams with limited forward depth, Hodgson gets a chance to come along slowly on a top-tier team, learning under some of the best centres in the NHL.

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Cody Hodgson’s faceoff apprenticeship

Back in October, I wrote about Cody Hodgson’s faceoff prowess and how the young centre’s injection into the Vancouver lineup gave the Canucks 5 quality options in the circle. At the time, Hodgson was winning 52.0% of his draws, and while it was quite early in the season, he had posted an identical win rate in the preseason as well. It didn’t seem far-fetched to assume he could maintain these numbers.

Turns out it was. Through 30 games, Hodgson has won only 74 of 177 faceoffs, or 41.8%. To put this into perspective: the other four Canuck centres all have winning percentages above 50%. Hodgson is the team’s worst faceoff option by far.

There are, of course, only four lines. This means that, to make room for Hodgson to centre one of them, the Canucks are going to lose ground in the faceoff circle. And before you say, “Shift Hodgson to the wing,” rest assured that it’s been tried.

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And Cody Hodgson makes five: how last season’s best faceoff team got better

With Maxim Lapierre retained and Manny Malhotra back to full health this season, the Canucks will now be four-deep at centre for the next two years. But they may actually be five-deep, because Cody Hodgson is beginning to prove that he’s not too bad in the circle either.

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As you may have heard, Ryan Kesler stated recently that he does not think he will be ready for the start of the season, a reversal from his earlier optimism. This news has been met with various amounts of panic from Canucks fans and it’s understandable why. Kesler was phenomenal last season, scoring 41 goals on his way to winning the Selke. In the playoffs, he almost single-handedly defeated the Nashville Predators in the second round, then battled through an injury against the Sharks to help the Canucks into the Stanley Cup Final.

Ideally, of course, Kesler would be 100% healthy to start the season, but if wishes were fishes I wouldn’t have to throw dynamite into the ocean. Instead, I will accept the reality of the current situation, mine the silver lining, and turn it into a fashionable necklace. Here are 3 reasons it’s a good thing that Kesler will not be ready by the start of the season.

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After an offseason that saw bigger names going out from Vancouver than coming in, it’s clear that the Canucks are counting on their most substantial improvements coming from the young players already within the organization. With that in mind, PITB looks at the three top candidates for Canucks’ breakout player of the year — Chris Tanev, Jannik Hansen, and Cody Hodgson — and what it would take for them to earn the mantle.

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If there’s any silver lining to Ryan Kesler’s injury (which may very well have cost the Canucks the Stanley Cup, so there really isn’t), it’s that an opportunity–a genuine opportunity–will finally be afforded to Cody Hodgson.

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The injury to Manny Malhotra has left the Canucks’ third line in a state of disarray. It’s a substantial hole, and the Canucks have struggled to fill it, promoting fourth-line centers such as Maxim Lapierre and Alex Bolduc, as well as converting wingers such as Jannik Hansen and Mason Raymond. All of these experiments have been met with mixed success. The answer, it seems, is evasive.

Tony Gallagher believes it’s in the AHL. If the need is a natural center with some offensive talent, Gallagher (and many others) want to know why the Canucks haven’t called up Cody Hodgson. Here’s why: another Cody Hodgson recall won’t help anybody. Not the Canucks, not Hodgson.

Right now, the best thing for everyone would be to leave Cody Hodgson alone.

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A Little Motivation For Cody Hodgson

By now, you’ve probably heard the news that the Canucks made a minor roster adjustment this morning, sending Evan Oberg back down to the Moose and calling up Cody Hodgson in his place. For Canuck fans, it’s good news all across the board, as Oberg’s reassignment means that Dan Hamhuis will jump back into the [...]

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After Wednesday’s loss against the Anaheim Ducks, the prevailing opinion amongst Canuck fandom was that the Canucks got outmuscled. This opinion could be heard from callers on the Team 1040, read on threads posted on Canucks.com, and absorbed by osmosis from articles written by Brad Ziemer (you wouldn’t want to actually read them). This sudden [...]

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The opening goal of Friday night’s game versus the Blackhawks is scored when Christian Ehrhoff comes off the bench and immediately steps into a slapshot on the blueline. It beats Marty Turco cleanly. But here is something you might have missed: We see, in clip above, Ryan Kesler turn back to the bench, seemingly disinterested [...]

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Cody Hodgson’s Dark Times, Part 2: Now With Hilarious Reader Submissions

If you’re new to Cody Hodgson’s dark times, I recommend you go back and read the original post that led to this one. If, however, you’re averse to doing research just to get a pretty lame joke, here’s a short primer: in an intermission segment about Cody Hodgson’s injury troubles, the narration included the hyperbolic [...]

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Canucks 6 – 0 Coyotes As a Canucks fan, it is thoroughly disorienting to cheer for the best team in the league. Cheering for the Canucks and cheering for the #1 team in the NHL is like serving both God and Mammon. It creates a kind of cognitive dissonance. Take tonight for example: the Western [...]

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Cody Hodgson’s Dark Times

In case you just awoke from a hockey coma, you’ve probably heard that Cody Hodgson, prized prospect of the Vancouver Canucks, played his first NHL game yesterday. It’s been a long time coming for Hodgson, who has overcome a boatload of misinformation, intrusive media coverage, rampant speculation and injury troubles just to get here. But [...]

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Canucks 4 – 1 Stars It might be safe to say the Canucks are better than the Stars. It stands to reason. The Canucks have beaten the Stars in every single one of their three meetings this year (QED, bitches). In fact, Vancouver has outscored Dallas 15-3 in these contests (4-1, 7-1, and 4-1). From [...]

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Surprise news this morning, as the Canucks announced that they had called top prospect Cody Hodgson up from the Manitoba Moose. Hodgson will be meeting the team in Dallas, and Ian Walker has tweeted that he’ll likely play, suiting up as the fourth-line centre and bumping Tanner Glass back to his natural position on the [...]

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Canucks news comes fast and furious, and sometimes we find ourselves playing catchup. Thankfully, the Dreaded Two Goal Lead–often called “the worst lead in hockey”–is super easy to come back from. Everybody knows it’s a guaranteed death sentence for those that hold it. Well, much like an ice hockey team coming from two goals down, [...]

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