Newspaper article The Canadian Press

How Cody Hodgson Has Starred for Canada at World Hockey Championship

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

How Cody Hodgson Has Starred for Canada at World Hockey Championship

Article excerpt

How Hodgson has starred for Canada at worlds

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MINSK, Belarus - Near the end of the NHL season, Buffalo Sabres coach Ted Nolan asked Cody Hodgson to try playing on left wing.

"I never played that before -- ever -- not minor hockey, junior," Hodgson said.

Still, it worked well enough that Hodgson broke out of a month-long goal-scoring drought. He had four goals and four assists over the last nine games of the season.

Team Canada coach Dave Tippett asked Hodgson to do the same thing at the world hockey championship, and it has worked like a charm.

With one game left in the preliminary round Tuesday against Norway, Hodgson leads in Canada in goals (six) and points (eight). Being on the wing has something to do with that.

"I think he's playing with good players, he's playing on the power play and he's shooting the puck well," Tippett said. "As a winger, the centreman has to play a lot down low, it makes it harder for them to get those rushes up the ice, so that's somewhere where Cody, he's taking advantage of some of those rush chances."

Since the start of the tournament, Hodgson has played left wing on a line with centre Nazem Kadri and right-winger Troy Brouwer. Per Tippett's plan, the right-shooting Hodgson still takes faceoffs on his strong side and assumes the defensive responsibilities of a centre in those situations until he and Kadri can switch.

But not having to worry about the multifaceted, four-corner duties of a centre has freed up Hodgson to think more offensively.

"It's a different mentality playing on the wing, for sure," he said. "I'm not engaged in as many battles down low, and it may free you up for a little bit more through the neutral zone, that type of thing."

Hodgson is scoring on more than just a wing and a prayer. A couple of his goals are on the power play close to the net, and even as Tippett says the 24-year-old is in the right place at the right time, he recognizes there's something to that. …

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