Yeah, it would have been a real treat to see that Canucks squad beat the talent-laden Sharks. But this one ended pretty much as expected: a 3-0 Sharks win. Mr. Botchford was inking it as a battle between Cody Hodgson and Andrew Ebbett for the #2 center position when the regular season starts. But neither player really impressed. I don't think Ebbett is really an option anyway. All eyes are on Hodgson, and he finished with no points, 1 shot on net, and 14:28 of ice time. Once again he received less ice time (for forwards) on the power play (3:41). This time, less minutes than Mikael Samuelsson (4:17), Andrew Ebbett (4:19), Chris Higgins (4:24), and Mark Mancari (4:19). Nothing much happening for Cody. He once again didn't engage enough physically as he needed to. Not enough dirty work. To me, he seems like a guy who you just need to give the puck to and let him set up plays. He has amazing skills and he seems on the cusp. But just doesn't seem like it's all coming together for him right now.
So now, with the final preseason game happening on Saturday and projections that Alain Vigneault
will dress his regular season roster, we should know of Hodgson's fate soon. Maybe he gets one more shot. Not seeing anymore chances for Mark Mancari, Niklas Jensen and Todd Fedoruk after this game though.
But if it's not Hodgson anchoring Line 2 come October 6 then who is? Slide Manny Malhotra up to that spot, Maxim Lapierre to the Line 3 center and Andrew Ebbett on the 4th line C? Time will tell. By the way, Malhotra (71% in the faceoff circle) and especially Lapierre looked terrific tonight. Keith Ballard delivered TWO hipchecks to keep us entertained. But the king of kings on this eve? Aaron Volpatti. What a one-man wrecking crew he was. He may have earned a 4th line spot with that effort alone. Maybe.
An open ice hit on Jason Demers that knocked the Sharks defenceman out of the game for a while. (Check out the 42 second mark of these highlights.)
Several other crunching hits lots of hustle.
But the biggest whopper? Check it out:
Wow! Canucks play of the night! Winchester is somewhere into next week.