After leading all rookies in points (6G-4A-10PTS) and moving into fourth in scoring among all first-year players, Vancouver’s Cody Hodgson was named the NHL’s rookie of the month for January.
While his month was filled with fine performances, Hodgon’s (arguably) best effort came in a 4-3 win over defending Stanley Cup champs Boston. He assisted on Vancouver’s second goal and scored the game-winner, a rocket shot that whistled past reigning Vezina and Conn Smythe Trophy winner Tim Thomas:
Hodgson followed that up with an equally impressive performance against San Jose, scoring two goals in Vancouver’s 4-3 win while once again potting the game-winner. That moved Hodgson into a tie for second in rookie GWGs, one off the lead.
Also of note: The 21-year-old Toronto native is now on 30 points, becoming the highest-scoring Canucks rookie since 2000-01, when Daniel and Henrik Sedin compiled 34 and 29 points, respectively. The franchise record for rookie scoring is 60 points, held by two players — Ivan Hlinka (1981-82) and Pavel Bure (1991-92).
Ken Hitchcock wants the Blues to spend more time attacking and less time defending.
Because hockey isn’t rocket science, that’s why.
“To score and win games in the National Hockey League…you have to spend as much time in the offensive zone as you can,” Hitchcock told the Post-Dispatch.
“When you’re occupying the offensive zone more, you’re forechecking more. When you’re occupying the offensive zone more, the goalie has to make saves. They’re having to defend more. And the opposing team takes penalties on you. So they’re all connected. … What I want to see from us is staying on the puck for longer stretches.”
According to the stats, the Blues have not been spending as much time in the offensive zone as we’re used to seeing from them. In fact, in their last 20 games, they rank in the bottom third of the league in score-adjusted Corsi. That compares to their first 20 games when they were in the top third.
The result is fewer shots, and more importantly, fewer goals. The Blues have fallen all the way to 25th in offense, averaging just 2.37 goals per game. Last year, they finished fifth (2.91).
“I don’t think he’s going to dazzle you with flashy plays, but I think he’s a guy who plays the game the right way. He’s hard to play against because of his size. He’s got a long reach, and he’s got a good stick.”
Sundqvist was selected 81st overall by the Pens in 2012. He’ll become the fourth player out of that Pittsburgh draft class to make his NHL debut, after Olli Maatta, Derrick Pouliot, and Matt Murray.