This is a weekly feature that will highlight The Good, The Bad and The *fill in the blank* exciting things that are currently happening in the NHL. Will the Canucks really trade Schneider? Did Boston actually lose all four games to Carolina? Are clocks conspiring against the NHL or just Columbus? Hockey – it can make time stop.
The Good: Hello Calder, Hodgson Calling
Sometimes I lie awake at night and think about where the Canucks would be without Cody Hodgson. Then I cry as I imagine terrible scenarios of a Canucks world without him. He’s truly exciting to watch when he’s on the ice and has been an essential component to the Canucks team. When he plays, it seems so effortless, like an artist on skates painting the ice with his skill. Hodgson is a game changer.
Remember last month when the Canucks faced their most formidable foes, the ones that gave so many of us nightmares all summer? It was on that wonderful Saturday afternoon in Boston, that Cody Hodgson was credited with his first game winning goal. The fact that he was able to do so against the reigning Vezina and Conn Smyth trophy winner Timmy Thomas, made me smile. A lot.
When you think about it, it’s no surprise that the NHL awarded Hodgson the Rookie of the Month honors for January. At just 21 years of age, this kid is going places. He even made his debut appearance at the NHL All-Star game last weekend. When you see him on a breakaway, there is no doubt that once that puck leaves his stick the only place it will end up is in the back of the net. Congrats to you Cody. I hope the Canucks keep you forever and am therefore choosing to ignore all those trade rumors. And I still believe that you can totally win the Calder trophy this year.
The Bad: Jekyll and Hyde, aka The Vancouver Canucks
You know how sometimes when you’re sick and your body cannot decide on a happy temperature so it goes from being hot to cold to hot again? In the span of an hour you can go from being warm to having chills so deep that even putting on layer of clothes won’t stop your bones from shivering to wanting to strip naked because it feels like your flesh is burning. Up and down. Well that’s how the Canucks are playing lately and I don’t like it. The team pretty clearly has the hockey-flu.
Is it too much to ask for some consistency throughout all three periods and perhaps a winning streak longer than five games? That, by the way, was all the way back in November and came after losing to their nemesis, the Chicago Blackhawks. Since then we have seen the Canucks triumph over league leaders and lose to some of the worst teams that never had any business winning over the Canucks.
This upsets me purely for selfish reasons. I like being optimistic heading into every Canucks game thinking that they will be victorious. However, this proves very difficult when it is never certain just which team is going to show up, the hot or the cold. Overall, the Canucks are in a good place at the top of the Northwest Division, in second place in the Western Conference, behind Detroit, and currently fourth in the League. They have depth that they didn’t have last year. They have two outstanding goalies and a highly skilled top line. However, it’s losing to teams such as the Panthers and the Blue Jackets that makes me worry for what will happen come playoff time. I know it’s still some time away and maybe I am just panicking too soon and unnecessarily. We still have the trade deadline to get through after all. But I sure do hope they end up more hot than cold come April.
And Trash Talking
One of the best parts of the All-Star game, along with the Sedins scoring on Tim Thomas, was getting some of the players to wear microphones. Not only is this a great way to get to know the NHL personalities (who knew that Carey Price or Scott Hartnell were so charming and humorous) it gives those who have never played hockey a fun perspective into what happens on the ice. This was also what made Marc-Andre Fleury my new favorite Penguin thanks to last year’s 24/7.
It is no surprise that with all that testosterone skating around that some form of talking trash between player will occur. Such as at the recent Canadiens and Sabres game and the exchange of words between Paul Gaustad and Max Pacioretty; it was a little exciting. Is it bad that I want to witness more of this in every game? Imagine how entertaining the banter between certain players would be to observe. I really want to know what Max Lapierre says to anyone, or the exchange between Alex Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin, with the help of a Russian translator of course. Imagine having a mic on Alex Burrows; not only would that be awesome but we could have known what it was that Patrice Bergeron said to him while he shoving his fingers in Burrows’ mouth. The Sedins, yeah I want hear them tell someone off because I am sure they do it too. I would pay extra for a subscription to that audio feed. It would be more exciting than any reality TV show. Except for Miller Prime Time.