My friend and fellow Canucks blogger Richard Loat of Canucks Hockey Blog and also known in Twitter circles as @Mozy19, recently reiterated his opinion of Canucks prospect Cody Hodgson on Twitter saying:
“Hodgson getting a second opinion on his back. The #Canucks staff not good enough? What did I say? Diva? Huh? Whaaa?”
First of all, I think the term “diva” is reserved for females, you know…Celine Dion, Maddona. Certainly Hodgson doesn’t fit that definition. Kidding aside, Richard is entitled to his opinions, and I think he’s a knowledgeable hockey fan, who wants nothing more than to be proven wrong by Hodgson. But he’s been riding Hodgson hard for the last few weeks, and I think it’s getting to be a bit much.
This a 19 year old kid, who’s had a pretty good life so far and he’s dealing with a major disappointment in his life. If he still has lingering issues about his back, real or simply perceived, then he has every right to get as many opinions as he wants. The Canucks don’t seem to be too concerned about it, according to a recent article by Ian McIntyre of the Vancouver Sun.
“I think Cody is a very young man who hasn’t had a lot of disappointments throughout his life. He’s probably having as tough time, personally, dealing with this one and trying to find a reason why it happened. We’ve all had times where we’ve encountered disappointment and tried to roll the [blame] in a different direction. We’ve all been through those things. Cody will learn from this.” said coach Alain Vigneault.
“Our medical staff and our doctors worked with Cody extensively,” Canuck assistant general manager Laurence Gilman said. “He was cleared medically on Sept. 11. Like any player, he is entitled to get another opinion.”
Unable to train properly after suffering a bulging disc in July, Hodgson missed the Canucks’ prospect camp and never really threatened to make the team. He had two points in six pre-season games and appeared to be labouring with his skating. Hodgson said during the pre-season that he suffered nerve damage with the back injury and, although the nerves were healing, his muscle response had been impaired. Vigneault, however, emphasized several times that Hodgson was healthy and cleared to play.
This doesn’t make Hodgson a “diva” it makes him like pretty much every other kid his age. I agree with Vigneault, that Cody will grow and learn from this experience. In the end it will make him a better player, and a more mature one as well. It’s really premature to question Hodgson’s character at this point. Especially when his resume thus far suggests that it’s been stellar prior to this year. In fact Hodgson was selected the best player by OHL coaches in their annual poll, selecting him as the smartest player, the hardest worker, the best on faceoffs and the best penalty killer.
I think the fact he had to cut back on is off-season training had a major effect on his ability to keep up to the pace of NHL players. It’s unfortunate for him, but perhaps it’s exposed a weakness in strength and skating. Those are both correctable deficiencies that the Canucks and Hodgson can look to improve on in this coming year.
If the same thing happens next year, or the kid sulks through this junior year and stinks it up, then there might be a case.
Come on Richard, lighten up and give the kid a pass!