January 22, 2011
Hodgson set to return to Moose lineup
By KEN WIEBE, QMI Agency
The official word had yet to come down, but all signs pointed to Cody Hodgson being back in the lineup on Sunday when the Manitoba Moose close out an eight-game homestand against the Abbotsford Heat.
On Friday, Moose head coach Claude Noel was pretty sure he was going to push Hodgson’s return date back to Wednesday but an injury to first-line centre Marco Rosa had him reconsidering that position.
During practice on Saturday morning, Hodgson was on the first line with Jordan Schroeder and Bill Sweatt and also took his spot on the first-unit power play.
If he gets the call, Hodgson said he’d be ready.
“We’re still deciding, but I’m doing what I can to be in good shape and ready to go,” said Hodgson, who has been out of action since taking a stick in the face from teammate Lee Sweatt during a drill on Dec. 9.
“Obviously, it was tough not being able to work out. That was probably the toughest thing. I’m getting my timing back, it’s coming. We’ve made some good strides here.
“I’ll be ready whenever they say (he’s ready).”
The injury itself was a scary thing to deal with, as Sweatt’s stick caught him just under the eye. Surgery was considered, but ultimately the injury healed on its own.
“I was kind of out of it and I don’t remember a lot about it,” said Hodgson. “It was really tough to see out of (the eye). It was blurry and it hurt all around it. I knew something was wrong.
“They didn’t think it was a concussion, but they knew something was wrong. I had to go to the hospital right away to check it out.”
Hodgson had 10 goals and 16 points in 24 games before suffering the injury.
Being on the shelf for the past 18 games was tough, especially after missing most of last season with back and foot injuries.
“That’s probably the toughest part,” said Hodgson, the 10th overall pick in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. “Lots of guys get injuries but after missing most of the year last year, it’s frustrating and tough because I got back and started playing well. It’s just tough to be taken out and have to start over again.”
Once he returns, Hodgson will be wearing a full face shield for the foreseeable future to protect his eye and that’s fine with him.
“Not at all, I played with it for 16 years growing up,” said Hodgson, when asked if the mask restricted his vision. “It’s never been an issue.”
Noel wasn’t ready to announce his decision, but seemed to be leaning toward at least dressing Hodgson and giving him a limited role.
“It’s something we’re considering,” said Noel. “The big thing is that I have to manage this thing intelligently. Energy-wise, what is he going to be able to give us? He can be a real good player for us but you have to be smart with how you deal with this stuff.
“He gives you some skill, creativity and he’s a pretty smart and responsible player. He’s been out for quite some time so it’s hard to figure where he’s going to be at. If we can get him eight or nine minutes in the game, that would probably be wise.”
The Moose and Heat meet at noon in a game that will be broadcast live on CBC and the first 5,000 fans will receive a voucher to redeem for a Nolan Baumgartner bobblehead doll.