DEMO MOVES UP, BERNIE MOVES OUT
Canuck forward Pavol Demitra was skating alongside second liners Ryan Kesler and Mason Raymond at practice this morning, and will likely stay there for tomorrow’s match against the Boston Bruins.
Since returning on January 16 after a shoulder injury, Demitra has recorded three assists, one each in the last two games.
This bumps Mikael Samuelsson down to the third line with Tanner Glass and Kyle Wellwood, possibly leaving Steve Bernier out of the lineup completely for tomorrow’s game.
Darcy Hordichuk will likely find himself back in the fourth line with Ryan Johnson and Rick Rypien after missing Thursday’s game against the Ottawa Senators.
HODGSON GLAD TO BE BACK
After being sidelined last July because of a back injury, Canuck prospect Cody Hodgson of the Brampton Battalion did not waste any time in his first game back in four months.
Hodgson contributed to the 4-2 win against the Erie Otters on Thursday night by recording two assists. He was also seen on the power-play and the penalty kill, and was chosen as the game’s first star.
“I had a lot of fun last night, played with some great speedy wingers [Scott[ Tanski and [Sean]Jones,” said Hodgson. “They were having fun as well. It’s great to create offence and be able to do the things that I could do at one time before. It’s a relief to get back.”
Before injuring his back while preparing for the Canucks’ 2009-10 training camp in July 2009, Hodgson spent the summer in London, Ontario training with Dave Gagner, the Canucks Director of Player Development. Gagner worked with Hodgson on his skating, which Hodgson acknowledged a marked improvement at camp but didn’t use Gagner’s facilities during his rehabilitation.
“Most of my rehab has been independent,” said Hodgson. “I’ve done that through Dr. Miniaci in Cleveland, doctors throughout Toronto and my trainer here in Brampton. During the summer next year I won’t be training with Mr. Gagner. I feel I have good trainers here in Toronto I can work with also.”
Due to his injury, Hodgson did not play on Team Canada in the 2010 World Junior Hockey Championship.
“Anytime you get the chance to represent your country you go,” said Hodgson. “Last year was the greatest experience of my hockey career winning the gold medal for Canada. This year was tough but I knew I couldn’t help the country or be at my best.”
Brampton head coach and general manager Stan Butler is impressed with Hodgson for his endurance and performance throughout his long recovery, and compared him to Bruin defenceman and captain Zdeno Chara, who played for Butler on the Prince George Cougars in 1996.
“The only other guy that I saw work as hard as he has was a guy I had in Boston, Zdeno Chara,” said Butler. “When I had him in Prince George we used to kick him out of the weight room or switch the clocks so he would think it’s later than it was. Cody’s put in long hard work outs here every day.”
Hodgson is happy to be back playing for the Battalion and hopes to continue his progress the rest of the year as he did against the Otters on Thursday.
“Worked hard to get the rehab, and make sure everything is set now and hopefully that pain doesn’t return,” said Hodgson. “That’s the biggest thing, making sure it’s healthy and ready to go from now on. I think we’ve done a great job here in Brampton rehabbing and being around the guys kept me motivated and now getting back feels great.”
A VISIT TO BOSTON
After being defeated 3-1 Thursday against the Ottawa Senators, the Canucks hope to improve their 1-2-0 record tomorrow when they play their fourth game of their 18 day road trip against the Boston Bruins.
This will be the only time the two teams play each other this season. Last season the Canucks lost 1-0 to the Bruins at GM Place.
Roberto Luongo is expected to return between the pipes for Vancouver. A battle of the goalies is very much at the forefront with Tim Thomas at the other end of the rink.
Luongo has a 9.19 save percentage and a 2.33 GAA in 48 games this year and Thomas is sitting at a 9.15 save percentage with a 2.52 GAA and both will represent their countries this year at the Winter Olympic Games in one week. Luongo will wear the red and white for Canada, while Thomas will join Canuck, Ryan Kesler on Team USA.
A far cry from last year’s Conference winning team, the Bruins are 1-6-3 in their last 10 games and have just one regulation win in their last 13.
With a 2.46 goals against per game, which is sixth in the NHL, just behind the Canucks’ 2.43, the defence, which features their captain Zdeno Chara hasn’t been a problem.
The Bruins have a league low 2.31 goals per game and 133 total goals on the year have struggled to find the back of the net - they were second in goals per game last year, averaging 3.29 per game. Getting one extra goal can be the difference maker for a team and it couldn’t be more true for Boston, who have lost 10 times in overtime or a shootout and nine by one goal in regulation.
Boston looks to break their nine-game winless streak as the Canucks look to get back on track on the road after back-to-back losses.
Even with two consecutive losses against the Senators and Canadiens, the Canucks still hold first place in the Northwest Division with 70 points (34-20-2), keeping their two-point lead on the Colorado Avlanche.
The Bruins currently sit in twelfth place in the East with 56 points (23-22-10). They have lost their last nine games including a 3-2 shootout loss against the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday.