On Supposedly Supersonic Hodgson
Canucks played the Sharks tonight, and while we are still undefeated in the preseason, the whole game was sloppy and uninspired until they (or rather Raymond) kicked a comeback off in the 3rd period. I was watching Cody Hodgson and Michael Grabner pretty closely, and neither really stood out, except for the fact that Grabner had a couple of pretty good shots on goal, started using his speed, and finally (finally!) really picked up his game in the 3rd period. Maybe the message has finally gotten through – the next games will tell.
As for Hodgson… well it’s a harder call. There have been a plethora of posts on him recently, and two notable ones today. There is this one from the well known Richard Loat on canuckshockeyblog.com, and with a title of ‘Codiva Primadonna Hod-SUN’ you sort of know where it’s going. Then there was this one from Heated Skates, which took issue with Richard’s opinion that Hodgson was coasting and didn’t really want it.
In the meantime there was this Province article in which Hodgson said his back though fully healed still has a wacky nerve and that it’s impeding his speed.
Then there was tonight’s game, in which he didn’t really shine at all, made some really bonehead plays and was seemingly benched at the end of the game. Disaster? I don’t think so, not entirely, but he’s got to be better, even though his positioning seemed generally good. However, there is always a time when a player hits bottom and can only go up after that – I think that might have been tonight, much like Grabner finally started to show some sparks.
I don’t think it’s anything to be concerned about though – give the guy a break. AV went out of his way at the end of the game to say that his problems were not caused by his back, and this makes sense because the current wacky nerve should only affect his speed. BUT he did miss out on 6 weeks of on-ice practice, so his conditioning is still going to be off and he’s pretty rusty. He quite clearly hasn’t got his game back yet, but I have faith it’ll come. We saw him play with the Canucks last preseason, and though he wasn’t ready, there’s no way he’s a worse player now than he was then, so I don’t see how he can’t improve.
Will he be sent back to junior? In my opinion I don’t know that there’s any point in it – he really has accomplished everything he has at that level, and I’m honestly not sure how another year of him looking like a man vs. boys is going to help his development or enable him to pick up new skills or refine his existing ones. But that is for the coaches to decide. And Grabner will probably get sent down, but I have a feeling he’ll be the first callup.
And how did that Sonic nickname come about anyway?