The Canucks continue their seven game trek across the east coast with a date in Buffalo against the Sabres. While normally a game against a bottom feeder wouldn’t mean much, this bottom-feeder happens to employ Cody Hodgson. You might not remember him, but we traded him for Zack Kassian…
The Canucks began their trip in Philadelphia against a Flyers team that has been nothing short of disastrous this year. Although a win was expected, it took another John Tortorella line scramble to ignite the Canucks and push through a 3-2 win. Ryan Kesler finally woke up and netted his second and third goals of the season while Chris Higgins murdered the monkey on his back by scoring his first of the season to lead the Canucks to their fourth victory in seven games.
The Buffalo Sabres are not a fantastic hockey team at the moment. To date, they have only one victory and it came Tuesday night against the New York Islanders. It wasn’t even a complete victory. It was a shootout victory. The point I am trying to make is that Sabres are not good. With only 10 goals (the 11th goal is from the shootout victory) in 8 games, their offense is non-existent. Leading scorer Cody Hodgson has a decent start to the year with 6 points, but his supporting cast has forgotten to show up. I think Thomas Vanek is already in Minnesota.
You know what? With John Tortorella managing the lines, your guess is as good as mine. Based on practice, here is what will happen but then change 4 minutes into the 1st period.
Higgins – H. Sedin – Kesler
D. Sedin – Santorelli – Hansen
Kassian – Schroeder – Booth
Sestito – Richardson – Weise
Garrison – Bieksa
Hamhuis – Tanev
Stanton – Weber
1. Cody Hodgson
I’m sure Hodgson would like nothing more than for this to be a low-key game without the distraction of playing against his former team and the issues surrounding his unceremonious departure. Well, then he probably should have kept quiet until AFTER Thursday. In an article written by Tony Gallagher of the Province, Hodgson attempted (edit: failed miserably) to shut the door on rumours his father had a hand in his departure from Vancouver and the notion that he asked for more ice time on team that employed Cory freaking Schneider:
I’ve been hearing all this stuff about my dad being involved with the team and making calls to the team and I wanted to tell everyone that my dad had nothing to do with it
And another thing: I never once asked for more ice time when I was in Vancouver, even though the media asked me every day if I thought I should be playing more…
Sure, Cody and his dad didn’t ask for more ice time. The problem is, his agent Rich Winter, has already spilled the beans on the ice time issue in a twitter exchange with @Taj1944 (a highly recommended follow if you aren’t already). So, good job Cody. Instead of letting everyone continue to unfairly judge the main pieces a trade that occurred almost two years ago, you’ve managed to bring attention back to the very issues you were trying cover up. Well done, sir.
2. Probably a good time to show up, Zack
Speaking of Cody Hodgson: did you guys know that Zack Kassian returned from suspension two games ago? If you didn’t notice, you will be forgiven. Minus his tilt with Luke Schenn, Kassian has been invisible since returning from his suspension. Tonight might be a good time to enter to show John Tortorella something, as playing against the team that gave up on you is always a motivating factor. Plus, if Vancouver is ever going to win this damn trade with Buffalo, Kassian has to start producing!
3. Will this be a letdown game?
Under the old coaching staff, a game like this would probably end up being a letdown game. It wasn’t necessarily the coaching that lost the game; it was the player’s attitudes. We’ve heard before that the Canucks sometimes took teams like Buffalo (teams that suck) for granted and their play reflected that. However, under John Tortorella, it will be interesting to see if he lets this happen. It is still early in instituting a new system, and I highly doubt any Canucks are going to take their foot off the gas pedal if their spot in the line-up is still in flux.
Against Montreal, I bet on the Canucks losing, which they did. I would love to be Mr. Negativity again and say the Canucks will lose tonight so we can balance out our highly optimistic predictions. However, they are playing Buffalo. Canucks win 3-1. Hodgson doesn’t score (but does gets an assist) and neither does Zack Kassian.