By terrance gavan – County Voice Sports
The good news?
Cody Hodgson, a Highlands’ hockey prodigy, is back in Winnipeg playing for the Manitoba Moose, where he will at least be getting some playing time.
The bad news?
The brain trust over to the Vancouver Canucks, after swinging a few deals, just prior to the NHL trading deadline, have apparently decided that Hodgson, a two way center with moxie, smarts and soft hands, is not the answer.
The question is: “What do we need for a fourth line center? Goal scorer or banger?
The latter won out last Monday.
The Canucks acquired yappy pest (a good thing says GM Mike Gillis) Maxim Lapierre (25) – a kid who played junior under Canucks coach Alain Vigneault – and Chris Higgins (27) last Monday.
The Canucks, who are dancing on the edge of the NHL’s salary cap, say that they have found their fourth line center with the twin moves, and that means Hodgson is for the second time in a little over a month, the odd man out.
This is the second time in the past six weeks that Hodgson has been asked up and sent back down to the Canucks AHL affiliate in Winnipeg.
Vancouver Province writer Ben Kuzma summed up the trade on Tuesday.
“Banking on the familiarity that Canucks coach Alain Vigneault had with Lapierre in his Quebec Major Junior Hockey League lineup for three seasons – and what assistant coach Lorne Henning and associate coach Rick Bowness have had with Higgins in the past – the Canucks believe they are better by addition than subtraction,” wrote Kuzma.
Lapierre is neither as talented nor as poisedt as Hodgson, who I have always maintained is simply not a fourth line player.
There is some speculation that the Canucks may have gambled that Vigneault can ride herd on the feisty Lapierre.
“If they want me to shut up, I’ll do it,” said Lapierre, a second-round pick by the Canadiens in 2003, who has 83 points and 293 career penalty minutes in 314 career games.
Meanwhile, Matt Duchene, Haliburton’s Hurricane, is settling into the eye of another storm in Denver.
Duchene’s Colorado Avalanche, in trading away goaltender Craig Anderson to the Ottawa Senators, have raised the white flag on a season, which has teetered like a rollercoaster on shaky wooden rails.
Last Christmas, the Avs and Duchene were on a tear. Duchene was maintaining a point a game clip, and the Av’s were happily ensconced in a battle for first place in the NHL Northwest.
The Avs are now slid to the low rungs of the Western Division.
It has Duchene and the rest of the Avalanche very perplexed.
Just this week the Avs lost another close 2-1 contest versus the San Jose Sharks.
Sharks Ryane Clowe scored the only goal of the shootout to lift San Jose to the win over the Colorado at the Shark Tank.
“It’s almost laughable at this point,” said Duchene, quoted in a Miami Herald article. “We work that hard, we play that well. With a team with that much offense and that many guys having great seasons, we hold them to no goals with four minutes left, and they find some way to score. That’s pretty frustrating.”
The Avalanche are winless in their last four (0-3-1) and have recorded only one victory over their last 15 games overall.
- Canucks acquire Lapierre and Sharp from Ducks (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- Canucks add strength up front (theglobeandmail.com)
- NHL trade deadline: Vancouver Canucks add Maxim Lapierre, Chris Higgins (sports.espn.go.com)
- Canucks Add Depth With 2 Deadline Deals (nytimes.com)
- Canucks like having agitating Lapierre as teammate rather than play against him (thehockeynews.com)
- NHL-best Canucks happy with new additions (cbc.ca)
- Vigneault still not happy with Canucks fourth line (theglobeandmail.com)