For many fans – and I would guess, plenty of players whose jobs aren’t riding on these performances – the preseason can be a real yawn-fest. While those disinterested parties sleep through these games, at least one player considers Sunday’s Edmonton Oilers-Vancouver Canucks exhibition something of a dream come true.
That’s because tomorrow’s contest could be the culmination of a grueling 14-month road to recovery from a back injury for Canucks prospect Cody Hodgson. While it’s probably foolish to say that Hodgson is fully healed, he’s excited to get back into playing form. Here’s more from the Province.
“This is what you dream of. My dream has always been to play in the National Hockey League. I’m one step closer playing in a preseason game.” [Hodgson said.]
Hodgson has been symptom free since he came to Vancouver in early September, but hasn’t played because he’s been slowly building up strength in his lower back and getting his conditioning to game speed.
He was cleared for full contact, and that means cleared to play, earlier in the week. His first full practice was Wednesday, his toughest was Friday.
It’s difficult to imagine that Hodgson could quickly transition from unable to play hockey to making the Canucks’ opening day roster, but Canucks GM Mike Gillis isn’t ruling out the possibility.
Beginning Sunday, the Canucks have four preseason games left and there is a chance Hodgson could play three of them. Vancouver GM Mike Gillis said Hodgson can still make the team, and given the way no one has stood out in the first three games, Hodgson has to have a legitimate chance.
“That’s the goal, we’ll see how it goes,” Hodgson said.
Hodgson’s road to recovery has been bumpy – Gillis even critiqued the media for the way they handled the story – but tomorrow’s match could open a new, hopeful chapter in his career. Good luck to him as he tries to move on from a tough injury.