February 01 2011 09:34AM
Ginger Bricks puts up another wall tonight. -- Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images North America
Game Day Recon #51 - Canucks @ Stars
Welcome to the jungle, Cody. Tonight marks the major professional debut for Cody Hodgson as he suits up for the first time for the Vancouver Canucks in the regular season.And the Canucks picked a great time and place to help the young man get his feet wet in the NHL.
You might even say that the stars have aligned for Hodgson to start in Dallas.
Game Time: 5:30 PM PT
The Vancouver Canucks picked a great time to call Cody Hodgson. He's starting on the road, avoiding many of the pressures of the hometown Vancouver media. And of all places, he starts in Dallas, playing host to the Super Bowl in 5 days. So that's also taking some media attention and focus away from the Canucks and Hodgson.
As for the game itself, it promises to be a rowdy, physical affair, as the Stars look for revenge after 2 lop-sided losses to the Canucks already this year. The last loss, only a week ago at Rogers Arena, saw the Canucks whitewash the Stars 7-1, as Kari Lehtonen was pulled for the second straight game against Vancouver. In two games against Vancouver, Lehtonen has a GAA of 7.33 and a 0.776 Sv%. And he's been torched by the Sedins, as they have combined for 3G 6A 9Pts. But the whole team has contributed on the scoresheet against Lethonen. The only expected skaters that don't have points against Dallas this year are Hodgson, Tanner Glass and Lee Sweatt. And Hodgson and Sweatt haven't even played against Dallas this year.
And the Stars feel that their Finnish netminder can still get the job done against the Canucks this season, as Lehtonen is getting the start tonight in net. In the opposite net will be Cory Schneider, who put in a stellar performance in the Lone Star State earlier this season, when the Canucks won 4-1, almost all thanks to Schneider heroics.
Thankfully we'll see the long-awaited reunion of Henrik and Daniel after their dalliance apart for the All-Star Game. I'm sure one was quite depressed and lonely and lost and confused without the other at his side.
Ok, it wasn't that bad... we think. But I'm sure the Sedins would love to return to their line together and show the NHL and any Super Bowl fans in attendance tonight how they REALLY go about their business.
Go on, Hank and Danne. Show 'em how it's done. And show them in front of all the siblings, and the Canucks' players' brothers and sisters are in town for their annual family trip. The Sedins themselves have one of their older brothers, Peter, with them on the trip. Maybe a big game in front of their big brother is in store tonight.
The Three Keys
Here are the three keys for the Vancouver Canucks tonight:
1. Give Schneider more support than last time in Dallas. Ol' Ginger Bricks pulled that game out of the ashes for the Canucks, and the Canucks did end up giving him the run support to drive the victory home. But surely, the Canucks have to give a much better all-around performance in front of Schneider than last time.
2. Don't expect Cody to save the world. He's coming off another injury and has only played 4 games in the AHL since returning. He'll be wearing a full cage to protect his injured face. He'll be playing 4th line minutes anyway, so he shouldn't be expected to be a difference maker. He should be expected to be a non-mistake maker. A mistake-free game from Hodgson would be the best thing for which the Canucks could ask.
3. Don't engage the post-whistle drama. Burrows! I'm looking at you! Last game, with the score out of reach for the Stars, Dallas started getting prickly after the whistle. Burrows was definitely guilty of returning to his old asshole-on-ice form. Calm and composure, boys. That's what you need. Don't engage in the scrums and the jabs and the jarring and yapping. Play whistle to whistle and skate away. Tonight should be all business.
Here are your top 5 links for today's game:
1. Tale of the Tape: Predators @ Canucks (canucks.com)
2. The pressure's right on Hodgson to prove himself (The Province)
3. Sedin twins owe success to their older brothers (Vancouver Sun)
4. Stars try to gain ground on Canucks in West (NHL.com)
5. Canucks/Stars Preview (Yahoo! Sports)