Finally the savior has returned to action. Or are we just witnessing another in a long list of Canuck busts (with Pamela Anderson attending games periodically, the meaning of Canuck busts could change completely, yet the result, no more appealing). Of course I’m talking about Cody Hodgson.
After sitting out with an interminably long back injury, Hodgson has returned to action, albeit as a soon to be 20 year old junior hockey player. For the first half of 2009, the hype machine was in full swing. He was a leader on the gold medal winning world junior championship squad. He had many "experts" placing him above John Tavares in terms of who would make a better pro. The Hockey News listed him as the NHL’s second best prospect in their annual "Future Watch" issue. He was the next coming of Trevor Linden. No, he was Trevor Linden, mixed with Joe Sakic, with a sprinkling of Steve Yzerman. He was perfect. Hell, I think he may even have invented a lite beer, that didn’t taste like crap, still got you you drunk, yet left you with no hangover. Anything seemed possible.
Fast forward a few months. He suffers the back injury right before training camp. He stands out in the most negative way. He just looks like he doesn’t belong. He’s playing like he’s channeling the skating style of yours truly. Then the rumblings. A few swipes at the Canucks organisation, a reluctance to go back to a less than stellar Brampton Battalion, and just a general undercurrent of petulance that leaves us with the feeling we’re dealing with someone a little less than the next Trevor Linden. Next, we’ll be picking apart his name, wondering if a guy named Cody can really be an NHL superstar. Can you go to war with a guy named Cody? I won’t even get into what happened with the beer.
Has anyone had a more wild roller coaster ride, been raised higher, been dropped lower, while simultaneously being watched only a handful of times by most people in this market. He was injured, evidently quite badly. Let’s give him some time. He is only 19. I know we’re all jealous of all the young studs making an impact on other teams. I know we haven’t had a prospect this tantalizing this century. Anyone who regularly watches the World Junior championship knows what a demoralising experience it can be for Canucks fans. Those couple of weeks are spent hearing about such and such a player who was drafted by the Flyers, or so and so who’s the property of the Oilers with nary a mention of future Canucks. We are starving. More accurately, we have been starved by the Canucks drafting. The problem is that starving people are not rational and our emotions swing too violently. None of this is his fault and he shouldn’t be punished for our own lack of things to snack on.
Give him time. And please reread this next year when Hodgson can only get ice time on the third or fourth line and Jordan Schroeder doesn’t crack the lineup.