Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault confirmed today that Cody Hodgson will not be playing in the Young Stars Tournament in Penticton next week.
“Cody will not be participating in the rookie camp,” said Vigneault, “he will undergo further evaluation this week, and we’ll be able to update you next week when our camps done.”
The 20-year-old 2008 first-round draft pick suffered from prolonged back injuries last season, and played only 13 games for the OHL’s Brampton Battalion. Prior the start of his problems the centre racked up 43 goals and 49 assists during the 2008-2009 season, being one of the Canucks top prospects, his presence will be missed next week during the Young Star Tournament.
Vigneault, however, is eager to get to Penticton to start the tournament, that for him at least, has been a long time coming.
“I’ve been adamant since I’ve been here in Vancouver that I’ve wanted one of these,” said Vigneauly. “Where we measure ourselves against other teams, you get such a better evaluation of your young talent, when instead of playing against one another, you play against another team. This will be really good for us, it’s going to be good for Penticton, and our older players, such like our younger players are excited for this.”
Canuck prospects camp opened today with a grueling day of testing in preparation for the next week’s Young Stars Tournament. Seven players took time out of their day to speak to the media. Defencemen Kevin Connauton, Taylor Ellington, and Chris Tanev; and forwards Prab Raj, Jordon Schroeder, and Bill Sweatt discussed their thoughts on the upcoming tournament and their role in the Canucks organization.
Bill Sweatt joined older brother Lee in the Canucks organization this summer, after the Toronto Maple Leafs failed to finalize a contract. The 21-year winger has recently been the target of some bad press from Toronto. Bill, however, has tried to move past the drama.
“There’s two sides to every story,” said Bill, “and obviously most people only got the side of the Maple Leafs, but that’s going to happen time to time, and now I’m with the Canucks, it’s been a great organization and I’m ready to put that behind me and move forward. I met with all the staff, and they just seemed like a great group of guys, they had a lot to offer, and they answered all my questions honestly and truthfully. This is a great team and a great organization, they treat their players very well and I’m happy to be here.”
Bill spoke briefly about the opportunity to play with his older brother, who he also played with for a year at Colorado College, where the two had successful chemistry that will hopefully be mimicked in Vancouver, as he begins professional hockey career.
“It’s exciting, now that college is over,” he said, “It’s time to start a professional career, it’s been a dream ever since I was a little kid, and now I get to finally fulfill that dream and hopefully make it to the NHL one day.”
Nineteen-year-old Jordan Schroeder also spoke today, about his first professional training camp, addressing the competition he’s facing to nab a spot on the team.
The 5’8”, 175 pound centre hasn’t let the criticism about his size affect him.
“Growing up I’ve always been the smaller player,” said the 2009 first round draft pick, “but its never affected me, I’ve always risen up against the challenge and done my part.”
If he wants to make the team this year he will have to bring his best, but competition is nothing new to Jordan, who left high school a year early to play for the University of Minnesota and registered 9 points in only 11 games on the Manitoba Moose last year.
“I had a goal in mind to make to the NHL,” said Jordan, “so I’ve had to skip out on some things in my life, but its defiantly been worth it. There’s great players on the team, and a lot of guys are competing for some spots, so I’m just excited to get out there and compete for that”
The Minnesota native is excited to get back on the ice and compete against the other prospects in Penticton next week.
“It’s been a while since I’ve been in a game so it’ll be nice to get back out there and take a few hits, maybe put some pucks in the back of the net,” said Schroeder, “I’ve heard it’s going to be a good time up in Penticton, it’s a beautiful city, with a new rink, and I’m sure a lot of Vancouver fans will be up there too.”
These new guys will face some tough competition in the following weeks, not only against other teams, but also against each other, but it looks like everyone is up to the challenge.
The Vancouver Canucks Young Stars Tournament starts September 12th and runs through September 16th. All games will be streamed live on Canucks.com. For more information click here.
INJURY REPORT FEATURING SAMI SALO
By Elizabeth Moffat, Canucks.com
Sami Salo was in Rogers Arena today, answering questions about his torn achilles tendon, while sporting a walking cast on his right ankle. Salo was playing floor hockey with some hometown friends in Sweden on July 22 when the tendon tore, making a sound which Salo described as “somebody shooting a shotgun.”
“It wasn’t really painful at all,” said Salo. “But some of the guys knew that it might have happened, usually some of the signs are that it’s not sore, but you can’t really move your foot.”
He was fortunate enough to get into surgery only four days after his injury, working with a Finnish surgeon familiar with other high level athletes. Hopefully this quick turnover will lead to a fast recovery time for the Canucks defender.
“I was lucky,” said Salo, “it was the same team that did David Beckham, so I was lucky to get in line that quickly.”
The 36-year-old blueliner is no stranger to lengthy injuries, and has been understandably frustrated with his latest setback, but he is focusing on healing up and getting back to the ice.
”Right now the only thing I can do is try rehab every day, and work hard, and take care of myself.”
Salo is expected to be out until at least the New Year; he was reluctant to speculate on when exactly he will return, but spoke optimistically about his recovery, and where he plans to go from here.
“There’s no time on [coming back], it’s been six weeks, it’s gone along pretty well, no more crutches, and I can pretty much do everything in the gym, the only thing I can’t do right now is jumping and going on the ice. It’s up to my body to decide, my doctor said that after six weeks if you have full range you can start walking and move along from there.”
Cody Hodgson was also at Rogers Arena today, preparing for his first medical evaluation of the season. Hodgson was expected to be at next week’s Young Stars Tournament in Penticton, but he may be held back, depending today’s evaluations. If Hodgson’s recovery is not where coaches would like it, he may stay off the ice for the much anticipated tournament and rest up for training camp later this month.
Hodgson spent much of last year fighting a misdiagnosed back injury, which is believed to have originated from training last July. This summer provided Hodgson with answers, following an MRI which revealed a torn lower back muscle.