Written by: Larry “The Nucks IceMan” Johnson
With TSN today releasing the Mike Gillis news that Ryan Kelser is expected back in the lineup within five to six games, Cody Hodgson doesn’t have long with his audition. That doesn’t seem long enough to make a case but that’s reality into today’s NHL and especially with a veteran team.
Hodgson seems to have finally reached a status of good health but he could end up with the Chicago Wolves, because I don’t see him playing on the fourth line, nor replacing anyone on the third line. We will find out tonight whether Chris Higgins groin is going to be a problem, because that seems the only way Hodgson would stay once Kesler returns.
I do remember Coach Vigneault commenting about the possibility of Manny Malhotra moving over to play the wing if Hodgson was going to play centre. With Malhotra being the stud that he is in the face-off circle, how would Hodgson ever become proficient at taking draws?
When looking down the lineup, the Canucks are not about to move a veteran like Mikael Samuelsson for a rookie in Hodgson. So unless there is a creative mix in there someplace, I would expect Hodgson to be heading back to the AHL when Kesler returns.
With the number of injuries that NHL teams have throughout the regular season, I would expect Hodgson to be considered the number one call-up replacing a forward, as long as it’s not on the fourth line. The Canucks have never experimented with Cody as a winger but if he wants a shot with the Canucks, that may be a position that he will have to adapt to.
Ice Chips: With the arrival of grit forward Dale Weise, and Aaron Volpatti playing on the other wing, at least the Canucks will have two players that will not hesitate to drop their gloves to engage with the opposition. Last season after Rick Rypien left the team for personal reasons, the Canucks had only Tanner Glass to handle those areas.
Interesting prediction by EA Sports 2012 NHL simulation, they have the Canucks winning the President’s Trophy with 114 points, Sidney Crosby winning the Conn Symthe trophy and Pittsburgh beating Chicago four games to two, for the Stanley Cup.
EA Sports has been quite successful at its predictions, selecting the Chicago Blackhawks as the 2010 Stanley Cup champs, the Canucks as the 2011 President’s Trophy winner and the 2011 Stanley Cup Final pairings of the Boston Bruins and Vancouver Canucks.
Unfortunately for the ‘Nucks Nation, they had the Canucks winning the Stanley Cup. Let’s hope they’re wrong about their 2012 Stanley Cup prediction also.
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