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So what’s the real reason the Canucks traded “Rookie of the Year” contender Cody Hodgson to a team that will give him the ice time, A-list line-mates and Eastern conference exposure to make him a lock for the Calder Trophy?
Even in the age of 24-7 news cycles, all-sports radio networks, non-stop bloggers and duelling hockey talk shows there are still some stories that never quite make it into the light of day.
Years ago I remember reading a rumour in the now defunct Frank Magazine claiming one of the Canucks top defenseman was traded because he was caught “banging the twine” with the goalie’s wife. I have no idea if the rumour was true, but it made more sense than the official story in the papers.
I’ve always assumed Dan Cloutier rescued Marc Crawford from a burning building, because there was nothing about what we saw on the ice that explained Crawford’s career-killing devotion to Cloutier.
And I can’t help thinking Cody Hodgson once poured ketchup on Coach V’s poutine, because no matter when he did and how well he did it, Hodgson always seemed to have a very short leash tethering him to the Canucks’ dog house. During last year’s playoffs Cody sat and watched games where even eight minutes of ice time by someone who was a genuine threat to score could have been a game changer and he only needed to change the score of one freakin’ game to win the Cup. But Coach V clearly considered him a liability.
When I visited the Twitterverse after the trade, sports reporter Dan Murphy weighed in with: “GM Mike Gillis would not comment on whether Hodgson camp asked for a trade. Said it was gut wrenching to trade him.”
Did Cody ask for a trade?
Did Gillis realize Cody was never gonna feel the love from Coach V and wrench his gut now, rather than watch Hodgson watch most of the playoffs from the bench?
Was it a pure hockey trade — skill for size?
Or is there another story that only Gillis, Hodgson and Coach V will ever really know?
Cody was the surprise of the season — the breakout star, the big news story, the new fan favourite — the forward who often showed up to score in the games the goalies fought hardest to keep the Canucks in. And the guy who was never going to get more than a few minutes of ice time because he was on a team with two centres who likely have at least a half dozen more All-Star appearances left in their careers.
Ignoring the fact that Hodgson was likely to be a contender this year for the fan awards for “most exciting player” and “unsung hero” on a hockey level I’m with TSN’s Farhan Lalji who tweeted: “This is not a “mortgage the future” trade. Kassian: 21 yrs old, 1st rnd (13th overall). Hodgson: 22 yrs old, 1st rnd (10th overall).” Lalji’s other comment: “For all of you lamenting CoHo, he was never going to become a top-two center w/
#canucks. Kassian will be a beast. Very good trade for both.”
As good as Cody was and as amazing as he’s likely to become, he was the Canucks’ third line centre and barring injuries to Hank or Kess he wasn’t gonna be more than that… that’s not exactly a spare part, but that’s also not what you call an “untouchable” when it comes to trade time.
And as much as I prefer watching Cody style hockey to the kind of game the Canucks are expecting from Kassian… a player Kassian’s size might mean that just maybe when the referees stop calling penalties in the playoffs other teams will spend a little less time playing: “spear the Sedin.”
That said… I still can’t help feeling that there’s another reason Gillis was willing to trade the 2012 Rookie of the Year and it’s a reason the fans will probably never know…