To his credit Tony Gallagher, pictured right, was months ahead of the Hodgson trade story.
I haven’t written about it at length like some of my Smylosphere colleagues have, but I’ll admit it: I thought the Tony Gallagher led fan-base obsession with Cody Hodgson’s ice-time this season was silly. Hodgson’s deployment made sense to me for hockey reasons, so I didn’t believe his limited ice-time was some sordid indicator of Alain Vigneault’s dislike for his star rookie. I’d have liked to have seen Hodgson play more with the first power-play unit, but otherwise, the way Hodgson was sheltered and used this season seemed deliberate, and I figured he was being groomed for the long-term. Yep, I was way off the mark.
Read on past the jump.
Obviously I’m a blogger and I don’t have access, but I do my best to provide thoughtful, accurate Canucks content using statistics, observation and the information that’s publicly available. Clearly Hodgson’s lack of ice-time was a meaningful indicator that hinted at yesterday’s ultimate outcome and I completely whiffed on those tea-leaves. My faulty assumptions on this one led directly to the biggest analytical misfire of my blogging career. In contrast, and to his credit, Tony Gallagher was months ahead of not just the blogosphere but his mainstream colleagues as well on this story.
I’ve always been a fan of Gallagher’s writing and radio appearances, despite some of his sillier claims (like when he suggested that cell-phones may be partly responsible for the rash of NHL concussions). One thing I never doubted, however, was that Gallagher is the most plugged in hockey media guy in the Vancouver market.
Despite that knowledge, Gallagher’s preoccupation with Hodgson’s ice-time – that even Hodgson’s colourful agent Rich Winter gently mocked on his blog – struck me as totally unconvincing. If I’m being totally honest, on some level, I suspected that the veteran beat writer was stoking the flames of fan-base resentment towards the Canucks head coach in order to drive discussion (and thus pageviews and newspaper sales). Lesson learned I suppose – don’t doubt Tony.
Tony’s newest outlandish suggestion can be found in his take on the team’s deadline activity yesterday. While he doesn’t explicitly state it, the subtext of that article is that Vigneault is out as the Canucks head-coach if he doesn’t hoist the cup this season. It’s another line of reasoning that seems dubious to me – why would Mike Gillis facilitate the trade of a supremely talented young player, for a return with a long-term pay-off horizon, based largely on his head-coaches structural preferences: if he didn’t have complete faith in that head-coach? That logic is both self-defeating and implausible and yet it gives me pause. As a guy doing my best to cover the team without direct access: doubting Tony-G’s scoops is a fools errand.