Cody Hodgson wants to make something clear — his dad wasn’t constantly calling up the Canucks to complain about things like his son’s ice time prior to the trade that sent the young center from Vancouver to Buffalo at the 2012 deadline.
“I’ve been hearing all this stuff about my dad being involved with the team and making calls to the team and I wanted to tell everyone that my dad had nothing to do with it,” said Hodgson, per The Province. “This isn’t Pee Wee hockey where the dad can call up the coach and interfere with what’s going on. This is professional hockey and that sort of thing doesn’t happen. He never called the team. You just can’t do that. That’s been bothering me for a long time and I want to clear that up. I’m not sure where all of that got started, but my agent (Ritch Winter) handled the stuff with the team.”
The Hodgson trade is still a sore point for many Vancouver hockey fans, as Zack Kassian — the main asset the Canucks got in return from the Sabres — has only shown flashes of potential as a power forward since the deal. Not to mention, the third-line center spot remains a significant question mark. And certainly the team could use another play-maker up front given Ryan Kesler’s offensive struggles.
At any rate, we have to believe Canucks fans will remain skeptical about Hodgson’s dad’s role in both the trade and the preceding breakdown in relationship between club and player. Even if his dad wasn’t the one calling up the team, was he directing Winter to call about anything?
“Some day I’ll talk about my time in Vancouver, but not right now,” said Hodgson.
Related: In which Cody Hodgson’s agent tweets his phone number, claims his account may have been hacked, then deletes all his tweets
From the NHL:
Pretty veteran crew, including three returnees from last year’s final.
Per the NHL, O’Halloran and O’Rourke will call tonight’s series opener from Consol.
PITTSBURGH — When Pete DeBoer was hired to coach the San Jose Sharks, he wasn’t totally cognizant of how much heartbreak the fan base had experienced throughout the years.
Now he knows.
“First year in the community, I didn’t realize kind of the baggage that was carried around,” DeBoer said this morning ahead of Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final. “Twenty-five-year season-ticket holders coming up to you with tears in their eyes and crying.”
The Sharks, of course, have never been this far in the playoffs. Prior to this year, they’d made it three times to the Western Conference Final, losing each time.
More painful were the first-round exits. Like in 2009 when they won the Presidents’ Trophy and got knocked out by the Ducks, and two years ago when they led the Kings 3-0 before dropping four straight.
It was only after the Sharks beat the Blues that DeBoer fully realized the “gravity of what they’ve been through” as fans in San Jose, and “how important this is to them.”
Not that he’s satisfied with getting this far.
“The business at hand now is to get off on the right foot, plant the right seeds for this series, impose our game,” he said. “Every series is the same — it’s whatever team can impose their game on the other team the quickest and for the longest. That’s our goal here tonight.”
Related: For Pete DeBoer, San Jose was the perfect landing spot
Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar will spend part of his offseason trying to help Slovenia qualify for the Olympics.
RTV Slovenia has the story here.
The qualification games will be played September 1-4 in Minsk. Slovenia is in a group with Belarus, Denmark and Poland. The winner of the group will qualify for the Olympics.
The NHL reportedly has no issue with Kopitar’s participation, even though the league has yet to commit to sending its players to Pyeongchang.
Slovenia made its Olympic debut in ice hockey at the 2014 Games in Sochi.
Kopitar will also represent Team Europe at the 2016 World Cup later in September.
Related: Slovenia beats Slovakia for historic win
PITTSBURGH — Matt Nieto is healthy, and ready to go.
But it doesn’t look like he’ll go tonight.
The San Jose Sharks are unlikely to make any lineup changes for Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final in Pittsburgh — at Monday’s optional morning skate, Nieto stayed out late with the extras while the guy he’d (presumably) replace in the lineup, Dainius Zubrus, told NHL.com he was in.
Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer wouldn’t reveal any lineup decisions during his morning media availability, instead talking up both Nieto (for his speed) and Zubrus (for his “heavy” game), adding he liked the versatility the two give the club on a night-by-night basis.
Nieto suffered an upper-body injury in Game 6 of the Nashville series, and missed all of the Western Conference Final.
Prior to getting hurt, he had three points in 11 games — this after a regular season in which he scored eight goals and 17 points in 67 games.