Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Giving Cody Hodgson His Just Desserts

Just a small note to tell you all how I feel about the recent World Junior Tournament.

First off, Canada won. I'm not only proud, but very happy, and emotionally stable (I wouldn't be if they had lost). I can celebrate all of this.

However, there's one thing I can't celebrate. Canada's John Tavares was named the MVP of the tournament. Now, Tavares is a great player, and had some nice goals. However, after watching every game, I can honestly (and perhaps objectively?) say that Tavares was not the best, nor the most important (or valuable) player on the ice for Canada. In my mind, there were two players at least that topped him. Those that came close were Esposito, Cormier, Benn, and Subban. But those that clearly surpassed him in my mind were Jordan Eberle and Cody Hodgson.

Now Jordan Eberle scored some big goals, one HUGE goal (with 5.4 seconds left in the semis to tie the game against the Russians), and proved playmaking and spirited play the entire tournament. There was never a time when I was disappointed with his play.

The same cannot be said for Tavares. He missed numerous chances on the doorstep (which have been called unmissable by him), some of his goals took little skill, and one in particular he would have missed the net by 3 feet from only two feet away but it bounced off the goaltender and into the net. He did have one of the nicest goals I've EVER seen in the first game, and his shootout goal was also full of skill and confidence (Eberle had scored a nicer one just a minute prior), but overall I was slightly disappointed.

Someone that only disappointed me once, with a bad giveaway after 10 minutes of lacklustre play, was Cody Hodgdson. Other than that 10 minutes, he played a COMPLETE tournament. He controls the puck extremely well, wins faceoffs regularly, is Canada's top penalty killing forward, and provides a classy leadership that does all his teammates well. But more, he also led the tournament in points. Tavares scored more goals, but only a couple. Cody had more points total, and he was the one often setting up the finish of Tavares.

So, to conclude, I'd like to give Cody Hodgson my vote for the Most Valuable Player of the 2009 World Junior Tournament. No offence to Thomas Hickey, but he clearly was the better vote for team Captain as well, and I will be surprised if he doesn't become a point a game player and Captain in the NHL. Although the Canucks are not my favourite team, I'm very excited to see him come play in our neck of woods next year.

So raise your glasses and toast the true captain of Team Canada and just MVP of this year's tournie.

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