So the news came out today that Cody Hodgson will not be participating in the Young Stars tourney this weekend after a medical evaluation yesterday did not clear him to play. Unfortunate news, given that Hodgson has now been injured for over a year and has missed a lot of hockey in between then and now.
Compounding the issue is the fact that team doctors, as well as the doctors Hodgson consulted for a second opinion, completely missed the source of his injury: a muscle tear in his back, rather than the bulging disc that was originally thought to be the cause of his problems. I think it is important to note that both the Canucks medical personnel and Hodgson’s doctor misdiagnosed things. One, it allows the online contingent of Canucks fans to start calling for trainer Roger Takahashi’s head again and two, it unfortunately justifies Hodgson’s decision to seek further medical treatment for his injury. Something was going on and he had the foresight to try and do something about it.
At any rate, while it is disappointing that Hodgson won’t be playing soon, Canucks brass are still expecting him to show up at the main training camp, where he may be able to carve out a spot for himself on the main roster. With Alex Burrows out of the lineup and a potential third line spot available, there is a chance, however small, that Hodgson could make the team straight out of training camp.
That’s putting the cart before the horse, though. The first thing Hodgson needs is to get cleared to actually play. Once he’s reached that point, he needs to have a strong training camp to justify his spot on the team. I’m working on a longer blog post right now talking about the Canucks and the big thing that’s jumping out to me right now is that, outside of the very top players on the team (Sedins, Kesler, Luongo) things are wide open in terms of availability, especially since both Burrows and Salo are expected to miss the start of the season. Thus, simply being a talented and highly regarded prospect isn’t going to be enough for Hodgson, although I don’t think he’ll have problems putting forth the effort.
Hodgson has shown that he is willing to work hard: his decision to ‘work through’ his injury at last year’s training camp probably resulted in a major setback in his recovery, but shows that he’s willing to put in the work necessary to make the NHL.
I also have to wonder if the decision to not have Hodgson cleared to play was up to Mike Gillis. I will add a disclaimer right here and say that I am a fan of Cody Hodgson and am feverently hoping that he’s more or less healthy, so take the next bit here with a grain of salt. Anyway…
One word that could probably be used to describe Gillis, admittedly only based on what’s been presented in the media, is meticulous. He likes planning things out and constantly refers to plans or strategies in interviews, moreso than other NHL GMs who like to talk about the job they’re doing.
There was the Off-Season Plan, the Defense Plan, the Bottom Six Plan, the Road Trip From Hell Plan, the Planning Things Out Plan, the Flan Plan, etc. it’s a nice trait to have for an NHL GM (those who doubt me probably went to the Darryl Sutter ‘Seat of Your Pants’ School of Business) and I don’t mind it, even if he manages to ruffle a few feathers here and there (see: player’s opinions on the sleep experts.)
Gillis has shown that he likes to be very involved with running the Canucks, the introduction of the sleep experts being a team-wide example of such. He’s also shown a knack for micromanaging things: see the Kyle Wellwood Blowaway Diet for an example of what I’m talking about. Gillis clearly likes to remain in the loop when it comes to his players and isn’t above stepping in when he deems it necessary to do so, even if it may be contrary to the player in question’s wishes, such as Gillis’ decision to change goaltending coaches without first consulting Roberto Luongo, or the rumour that Luongo is going to have less of a say in when and how much he plays this coming season.
Hodgson was described as being ‘upbeat’ yesterday prior to his medical evaluation and said he felt ready to play. I’d imagine that if the choice were up to him, Hodgson would probably be suiting up this weekend. Unfortunately, the last time he made a judgment call like that it didn’t exactly work out for him and he missed most of last season due to an injury. Thus, it’s not a huge stretch to think that maybe, just maybe, Mike Gillis decided to intervene here. Take a few more days to fully go over everything and make sure Hodgson is 100% ready to go for training camp and go from there.
Go over every single test, check and re-check things and make sure everything is in order. Don’t leave anything to chance. Everything looks fine? Test and check again.
Yeah, it may sound a little too focused on the details, but it also fits Mike Gillis’ MO.