On November 21st, I was able to catch Brampton’s game against the Ottawa 67′s. Before the game, I was privileged enough to meet Cody Hodgson, and interview the Battalion head coach Stan Butler after he finished up an interview with CBC. Earlier that week, Brampton’s media guy Phil Ercolani also arranged an interview with Hodgson for me so with the content I gathered from those two interviews, I wrote an article for Canucks.com which can be seen here. Below are some quotations from both Hodgson and Butler that never made the article, and a few of my overall observations about Hodgson’s play.
Hodgson on his individual and team success: “Things are going pretty well right now. We’re playing with a lot of confidence as a team. We’re getting along really well off the ice and playing well on the ice.”
Hodgson on keeping the streak alive: “I think we just need to take it one game at a time. Just preparing for our opponents one game at a time and not looking too much past that. We’re obviously going to try to keep the streak going as long as possible and the way to do that is to focus on the individual games.”
Hodgson on his individual expectations for the rest of the season: “I really don’t look too far ahead. I just try my best and try to work on where I’m at right now. I just try to win.”
Hodgson on his two-game suspension earlier this year: “It was at the end of the game against Sudbury, it was one of my first games back. With a couple seconds left, one of the guys on Sudbury just two-handed me in the back of the leg after I hit him. I just couldn’t let him do that at the end of the game.”
Hodgson on the upcoming World Junior Championships: “It would be a truly unique experience to play in Canada. Hopefully as a country we can make it five years in a row and win gold.”
Hodgson on the prospect of playing in the NHL next season: “I hope to be [playing in Vancouver at this time next year], that’s for sure. That’s my goal, and that was my goal this year. The goal is always to make it to the National Hockey League, and that will never change.”
Butler on Hodgson’s domination of the OHL: “I think it’s just experience. It’s now his third year in the league. He’s been through the league as a rookie, last year he had an unbelievable year and now he’s got the experience of going to the Vancouver Canucks training camp and playing some exhibition games there. Also some of our other older guys have moved on which has allowed him to be thrust upon into that leadership position.”
Butler on when Hodgson will make the jump to the NHL: “Obviously, that will be up to the Vancouver Canucks team with Alain Vigneault, Rick Bowness and such. But I said it on draft day here in Ottawa that I thought that Cody was a great pick by Vancouver and he continually shows that. It’s going to be their decision to decide when he’s ready.”
Overall, Hodgson looked really good out there against the 67′s. Not great, but really good. He made a couple costly giveaways and did seem somewhat tired, and perhaps this is because he played in the OHL vs. Russia game the night before or because Brampton’s bus arrived at the arena about an hour late (only an hour and a half before puck drop). Hodgson notched one goal on eight shots, and this was Brampton’s tying goal early in the third period. He won 14 out of 26 faceoffs, playing on the number one PP and PK unit. Something that I wasn’t aware of before this game, Hodgson plays on the right point on the PP. One thing that really stood out for me is Hodgson’s quick hands and quick release, along with his ability to open up for an outlet pass coming out of his own zone. Also, Hodgson’s speed is not an issue. Even though this wasn’t one of Hodgson’s most dominating performances, he was still clearly one of the best players on the ice and it seemed pretty obvious to me that his possesses the tools to become a contributor at the next level.