Humble Hodgson coming off big month
Hosea Cheung, QMI Agency
|Vancouver Canucks' Jannik Hansen celebrates a goal against the San Jose Sharks with teammate Cody Hodgson during the first period of their NHL game in Vancouver, British Columbia January 2, 2012. (REUTERS/Ben Nelms)
VANCOUVER - Getting Cody Hodgson to compliment himself is like trying to get general manager Mike Gillis to smile.
It doesn't happen often in front of the media.
The Vancouver Canucks rookie, always guarded with his answers, was again humble Wednesday when reflecting on his standout January performance. He gave credit to pretty much everyone else on the team, besides acknowledging that he's feeling more comfortable as the season progresses.
"Obviously you can't do it by yourself," Hodgson said. "I talk about my teammates because they're the main reason why I'm having this success. I feel like the guys treat me well and it's a fun room. There's a lot of good players on this team."
Lately, Hodgson has been the best of them all.
The Toronto native is coming off a superb month, where he led the Canucks with 10 points in 11 games — and that's not including a shootout winner against Edmonton. The 21-year-old also had two game-winning goals, three power play markers and three multi-point games, all during the 31-day span.
After returning from the All-Star weekend where he participated as a rookie, Hodgson scored the 2-2 tying goal Tuesday with a sharp wrister on a breakaway against Chicago to send the game to overtime. The tally moved him into fourth in overall rookie scoring with 30 points and second in goals with 14, one behind Philadelphia's Matt Read. With those numbers, it's no surprise Hodgson is already generating talk and attention for NHL rookie of the year honours, all of which is being ignored by the youngster.
"Obviously, there's a lot of great rookies in the league, and to be mentioned and to go to the All-Star Game as the top 12 is pretty cool," said Hodgson, who is also a favourite to win rookie of the month, expected to be announced Thursday. "But it's something I don't really take too much stock in right now, it's still early."
Given his limited ice time, Hodgson's effectiveness is even more eye-opening. Of the top 16 rookie point getters, he has the second-lowest average time on ice with just 12:42 minutes per game. Point-leader Edmonton Oilers' Ryan Nugent-Hopkins — currently injured — averages 17:19 per game while New Jersey's Adam Henrique, second with 34 points, plays nearly six minutes more than Hodgson at 18:24 per game. Staying out of the box has also benefited the Canucks centre, having accumulated only four penalty minutes this season.
"I just want to contribute in whatever way possible, getting points here or doing little things to help the team win," said Hodgson.
His linemate Mason Raymond praises both Hodgson's vision on the ice and his increased confidence.
"It was just a matter of time," the winger said. "He's making the most of his opportunities. He's proved it at every level, to be able to find that knack for the net and have good patience. He's starting to prove it here which is great for us as a club."
That itself should have even Gillis smiling these days.