Apr 26, 2013; Buffalo, NY, USA; Buffalo Sabres center Cody Hodgson (19) skates past New York Islanders right wing Michael Grabner (40) during the second period at the First Niagara Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Has Cody Hodgson Learned Anything From the Mistakes He Made in Vancouver?

Let’s get right to the point, Mr. Hodgson:

It’s August.  You’re a restricted free-agent who was the second-leading scorer for the Buffalo Sabres last season.  The Sabres should have signed you a while ago, in order to be able to devote the entire focus of the organization on the upcoming training camp.

Apr. 14, 2013; Buffalo, NY, USA; Buffalo Sabres center Cody Hodgson (19) is greeted by fans on the way to the ice before a game against the Tampa Bay Lightning at First Niagara Center. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Instead, the Sabres and yourself are currently involved in a game of chicken.  You almost certainly want to be handed a long-term contract worth big money.  The Sabres probably feel as if your game has too many holes still to warrant such a contract.  Buffalo would be stupid not to sign you, but the team would likewise be stupid to bend their knee and give you a contract that he has not earned yet.

As for you, CoHo . . . well, could it be you’re just plain stupid, regardless?

First of all, don’t tell me it’s not stupid for wanting more money.  Everyone wants more money – that doesn’t make it right, or smart.  If you’ve earned it and want to ask your boss for a raise, you’re smart.  If you have not earned it and try to play hardball, you’re dumb, and could wind up losing your job. Wanting more money when you have not earned it is a result of greed and vanity, so telling me that you are smart to hold out for big bucks is flat-out wrong.More importantly, Cody Hodgson: you have already earned a reputation that any self-respect professional athlete should be working to dispel, not further add to.   I made it a point to go back in time this morning and do a little research regarding how your trade from Vancouver to Buffalo went down.  (Here’s a link to the article over at SportsNet that I am relying on the most.)  You cannot find many people in Vancouver who feel like they got the better end of the deal, yet Vancouver’s GM Mike Gillis has no regrets about making the trade that sent a blossoming young player to Buffalo in exchange for Zack Kassian – none.  Why not?  Well, as Gillis put it,

“I spent more time on Cody’s issues than every other player combined on our team the last three years. We made a determination that he didn’t want to be here; we built him into something we could move.” (This quotation can be found at The Globe and Mail.)

And what were some of those issues, you ask?  Try this naive response you made on for size:

“I spoke to the coach about my role on the team.  That’s not unusual.”

Not unusual – for a seasoned veteran, Cody.  You were a rookie at the time.  Worse, you allowed your agent Ritch Winter, who almost certainly is your agent because of his relationship with your father, to go public on Twitter announcing that you had met with then-Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault.  It’s bad enough that you overstepped your bounds, and then allowed your agent to embarrass the Vancouver organization, but the worst part of all of this is that, when you were inevitably traded, you seemed genuinely surprised:

“I was shocked. I didn’t know what to say. I never saw it coming.”

Oh boy.

Apr 26, 2013; Buffalo, NY, USA; Buffalo Sabres center Cody Hodgson (19) skates past New York Islanders right wing Michael Grabner (40) during the second period at the First Niagara Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

So fast forward to August of 2013, and you have yet to reach a deal with the Buffalo Sabres.  Look, Cody: you’re a pretty good player who has benefited from being a part of a team who is weak up the middle.  You play on the first line for the Sabres, yes – but honestly, on most other teams you’re a second- or even third-line player at this stage of your career.  You burned some bridges while in Vancouver without apparently even realizing it, but you can only argue that your mistakes were the result of being young once.  It’s been two full seasons since the trade, and one would think that you are a little bit wiser now that you have matured and had time to reflect on what went down.   As of right now, that doesn’t seem to be the case.

Allow me to end by reminding you of a true hockey superstar named Eric Lindros.  Lindros was undoubtedly the best player of his generation, but there are two things he is known for more than his talent: his unfortunate history of concussions, and the fact that he had crazy-ass controlling parents who allowed him to think of himself as more important than the game of hockey itself.  You’re no Eric Lindros, Mr. Hodgson – or, should I say, you don’t have the talent of Eric Lindros.  Whether or not you become more like the negative aspects of Lindros is up to you.   Be honest; work on your game; accept the contract you deserve, and go from there.  Should you become the superstar you possibly already think you are, I’m sure the Sabres and Terry “Moneybags” Pegula will be glad to throw boatloads of cash at you.  That day hasn’t come yet, though, so learn from your past and end this charade before more people begin to associate the names Hodgson and Lindros on a regular basis.


Tags: Buffalo Sabres Cody Hodgson

  • Beaver cleverton

    Slow blog day

    • http://SabreNoise.com/ Richard Spalding

      Sure, I guess. Except I was discussing a player with a bit of history here, which is only one instance. I don’t have a history of reaching for stories, but thanks for the read!

    • Jes

      Signed in training camp? There was no training camp last year.

  • Jt Smith

    Not a big fan of this article , seems really biased against cody , he really stepped up to the plate and was one of the best players last season , landing a big contract worth a lot isnt a bad idea with the Sabres cap space , especially if T.V. Or Millsy get moved , losing Cody by not signing would be a last straw for many of the few fans who have straws left to lose .

    • http://SabreNoise.com/ Richard Spalding

      Didn’t say the Sabres shouldn’t sign him, but Hodgson isn’t impressing me with his stance. Read some of my other work – I have never argued we get rid of him, but I question his maturity.

  • Caitlin Campbell

    Love this article Rich. As you know or may have figured out I am a Cody Hodgson fan, but he definitely messed up some things in Vancouver and has some maturing to do as a NHL player. I’ve known the Hodgson family for years and he was mis-treated a fair amount during his time in Vancouver. But I truly hope Hodgson has learned from things and is ready to be the star he can be.

    • http://SabreNoise.com/ Richard Spalding

      Thanks, CC! I like Hodgson, and hope he has star potential (and maturity) in him. Having said that, I have to be honest: on half (if not more) of the rest of the teams in the NHL, he’s a second-liner at best. I hope he’s humble enough to address the weaknesses in his game and accept a FAIR deal in Buffalo.

      • Caitlin Campbell

        I fully agre that on the majority of teams in the league- not to mention pretty much any cup contending team he’d barely crack the third line centre role. He’s lucky to be in Buffalo and i hope he realizes he has some work to do.

  • Jes

    If I were Hodgson I’d be looking for the biggest payday possible. Unfortunately this was a bad year to go looking for one seeing that the salary cap went down by a lot this year. That’s probably why he hasn’t signed with another team. Regier as usual is probably low balling the guy as he does to every UFA/RFA not named Ehrhoff, Myers, Leino or Stafford.

    Look for a situation similar to Peca’s. Unlike Peca I do believe Hodgson will still be in a Sabres sweater. I say if this goes on into the season it’ll be around November or December when we see Hodgson lace them up. We don’t know the reasons why he isn’t signed yet so lets not jump to conclusions.

    We could get a nice prospect or 2 or a prospect and draft pick for him from a team like the Preds?

    • http://SabreNoise.com/ Richard Spalding

      You’re right: I don’t know the reasons why he hasn’t signed yet. I’m speculating. Still, he has a slight history – asking the coach what his role was? As a rookie? Seriously? – and I don’t feel he has earned the biggest payday possible. He was terrible without Vanek in the line-up, so he can’t claim he is ready to carry this team yet. I hope talks are proceeding smoothly, but I would be disappointed if the Sabres offered him anything more than a 2-year extension.

  • chas territo

    Good article, both honest and fair. Too many players in all pro sports see themselves as entitled, too damn bad, right? Cody is an example of that. He is as of today just a 2nd or 3rd liner for other teams, but because the Sabres are pretty low on talent at Center, he has a better chance of being our #1 Center. He needs to realize he is not a true #1 Center! Forget about DARCY’s over valuing, CODY is also as delusionally over valuing himself. He needs to sign for maybe 2 years, then show his value by playing as a 2 way Center. Once he does that re-visit the table and get rewarded with a longer term contract. that’s it, do this Cody and you will be better served and who knows, maybe you may be ENTITLED!!

  • davidmuscalo

    I think he is only one of many of his generation who are narcissists, feel entitled and grossly overestimate their value to society. Unfortunately, this has often been true of many athletes in the past – are you listening Pete Rose – but this it has become far more prevalent during the past 30 years or so.

    The scary part of your blog is your emphasis on Cody’s stupidity and that of his agent. In my experience stupid people are the most difficult to deal with, are suspicious of intelligent people and are immune to logic. Although I would be delighted if Cody agrees to reasonable offer from management, he may be just too dumb to understand what his true value to the team is at this time.

    • http://SabreNoise.com/ Richard Spalding

      It does seem to have become the norm, these young players coming in and making demands before they have earned them. Again, I’m speculating in large part for this post, based on what I have seen and heard. I could be wrong – talks could be going well. I sincerely hope Hodgson isn’t guilty of what I’ve brought up in this article, but any more, when i comes to professional athletes, you almost have to fear the worst.