We have many names for our erstwhile 10th overall pick from 2008, Cody Freaking Hodgson. The Franchise. Silent G. Cody Godson. There are more I am sure, but the young man who has burned up more bytes of comment space, bitchy Tony Gallagher columns, and speculation on everything he does in this hockey mad city has been growing into a solid two way player this entire young season.
He had himself a game tonight. First star, a goal and an assist. What looked like instant chemistry with Maxim Lapierre and David Booth on what was the best line. Silent G played like a gangster tonight.
Let's look at what else we can find in the nuggets of dominance the stats sheet will provide from this one. That is what happens when you just work harder than the other team. Scoring early in every period does not hurt either.
(Can you believe what Walt Disney thought of hockey in 1945? Though Goofy looks like he could be an enforcer )
I almost went with something from South Park for tonight's game. There were periods of play where it looked like the South Park team versus the Red Wings. Their coach looks a little like Kyle as well. Not to put them down, because they showed some stones and pushed back hard in the third period, but that was a pretty dominant display by the Canucks tonight.
- Aaron Rome. You cannot hope to totally stop him, you can only hope to contain him. My theory is it is that stylin' Movember moustache and soul patch gives him holy powers. After avoiding ( quite rightly ) the Shanaban for being too much man last night, he went right back to being too much man tonight. His pairing with Ballard looks more solid every shift. One goal, two assists. A +2, 3 SOG, a block, and a hit. And he was the blueliner with the least amount of minutes tonight at 17:04 TOI. Our #6 defenseman had no PK time, and :51 PP time. Shorty and Cheech were wondering when the "bras were going to start coming out..." al a Jeff Cowan. Rome the Brabarian indeed. Tonight's second star.
- Let's see. After one period, the shots were 14 to 8, and I really cannot remember a troubling one. After a second period where the shots were 13 to 3, and a game where the final tally was 36 to 24 for the winners, you would think it was not a close game. It was, and it was not. Territorially, this game was all Canucks. Entire shifts were spent in the offensive zone by the home team. That it was close at all was a tribute to Evgeny Nabakov. His guys scrambled in front of him ( Andrew McDonald led his team with 5 of their 27 blocks ), and the Canucks missed another 18 shots. But let us not forget the guy at the other end. Roberto Luongo was spectacular on a couple chances in the third, when the visitors led 12 to 9 in shots. Hell, he stopped one with his head. His team blocking another 21 shots ( Keith Ballard led the way with 5 ), and the one that did get in was a scrambley goal that would be tough for most goalies, what with the first shot going off the crossbar. Those that were surmising as to why the #1 was back between the pipes should relax a bit. That was a solid game from last year's Vezina nominee and Jennings co-winner, tonight's third star.
- Check out the hand to eye coordination from Cody Hodgson on his goal. The Kid is awesome with the puck in close quarters, and of so smart most of the time, but that is some deft touch. The guy checking him gets a tip of the puck before Cody does. Two points, a +2, a hit, 2 takeaways and a giveaway. That his line was out a fair amount on the John Tavares #1 unit was telling as well. AV had no problem letting that happen with his last change. As a matter of fact, they seemed to be better on that line than the Kesler line! It is obvious that Maxim Lapierre and he have developed some chemistry, as has David Booth with the both of them. When you have two lines that can use their speed to check tough opposition well all night, the Canucks become even more of a matchup nightmare. Add to that a fourth line that can handle its self OK when caught out ( after a slow start with only 1 draw taken and won in the first, Manny Malhotra finished 4 for 7 on draws, Weise had 5 hits and Volpatti 4 ), and the team becomes far more difficult to play against.
- Let us not fret too much on the second line. They did not score tonight, but were mainly solid. The times they got caught out in their own end, they worked hard to mostly mitigate chances. Ryan Kesler had 4 shots, and Chris Higgins had two, but they seemed to create more trouble than that. Alexandre Burrows had a weird night. He looked pretty good on that line, but was credited with no hits, no shots, no nothing ( well, 1 takeaway ) in his 16:02 TOI. There were several rushes where the speed of all three looked to create something, only to have a stick or a block spirit the puck away. Kesler was still a beast on the power play in front and hunting pucks. "It's coming" may sound like a broken record, but its true. Especially with this line up. Burrow and Kesler's chemistry is always good, Higgins plays the same way, and Booth finding a home on the third line just creates more chemistry and more matchup nightmares for the other guys.
- Speaking of the PP, I would have loved to see the first unit get a goal to be rewarded for their dominance, but damn, the power play looks good. The Hodgson bunt kept it clicking at a 1 for 3 tonight, and it was dangerous as hell. Those Sedin Twins are pretty slick with the puck huh?
- Offense from the back end is nice, and apart from the dominance of Rome on the scoresheet, it is sure nice to see the blue liners all fill their roles nicely. Apart from Sami Salo on the one Matt Moulson goal getting a minus to be a -1, everyone else was a positive or at least an even(Edler) . After missing two shots in the first, Kevin Bieksa had 3 shots on goal and an assist, as well as 2 blocks and 2 hits. Salo had 4 shots, and is the scary option on the power play that makes the other team get out of position and susceptible to Sedinery. Hell, if Bieksa and Edler did not combine for 3 or 4 broken sticks, they might have filled the scoresheet even more! But my favorite pairing was Rome and Ballard. Keith Ballard had a wonderful game, with a +1, 2 missed shots, and 5 blocks, in addition to many very solid breakouts, headman passes, and a growing chemistry with the Sedin line. That pairing loves getting out there and throwing the puck around with the O'vik boys, but then who wouldn't?
- It is, I guess, human nature to want that which we can no longer have, and Michael Grabner did not do too bad in his first game back in Vancouver. He worked hard to help create the only goal for his team. He was robbed on the above on one of his 3 shots, had 2 blocks ( including a SaloBomb off the foot that looked painful ), a hit and a takeaway in just over 16 minutes. His line looked sorta dangerous in the third. He is still fast as ever. But let us not go too overboard on the seller's remorse. Yes, he had 34 goals last year, but that was in a chance he would not have gotten here with our depth. How about we just admire his good fortune and move on? I know it was not the writer, and more the teammate that compared the kid to Bure recently, but I think we are pretty safe in that we did not trade away "the next Bure". Like the rest of his team though, they do work hard.
Hard work is what got the Canucks this win tonight. That, and greater talent throughout the line up. Yes, we had Silent G playing like a gangster. But he was only one of a strong team effort that overwhelmed the young Islanders tonight. I have every confidence that they can do the same to a slightly more talented team coming to town on Wednesday. The Canucks don't play the Hawks until Wednesday, and that is their next game as well. Something tells me that Quennville and Co are reworking the travel schedule to prevent an outbreak of the "Roxy Flu" if they get to town early.