Tag Archives: Sports

Cody Hodgson and the Fallacy of Don Cherry

Don Cherry

Don Cherry loves good Canadian boys, especially good Ontario boys because he’s from Ontario and… it honestly doesn’t seem to go any deeper than that. Cherry routinely chides the Toronto Maple Leafs for not acquiring more local talent, and he did so again in a pair of Twitter rants about last week’s draft, where he calls professional leagues in Sweden and Switzerland “ice follies” and suggests the Leafs disappointed 40,000 kids who play in the GTHL by overlooking Ontario prospects.

But the most interesting part about Cherry’s rant isn’t what he’s saying, which is the same kind of illogical dog-whistle xenophobia he’s been pitching to ignorant hockey fans long before he started making his suits out of your grandmother’s curtains. Most Canadians are painfully familiar with his wrongheaded views about French-Canadians and European players. What made this rant truly interesting was how he avoided mentioning any draft-eligible Ontario players by name, and I think I know why.

Good Ontario boy Steven Stamkos was the consensus first-overall selection in 2008, and he has more than fulfilled expectations by maturing into one of the game’s top goal-scorers, but Cherry had his eyes on another Ontario product that year: Cody Hodgson. Granted, Cherry wasn’t the only one high on Hodgson, who was selected 10th overall by the Vancouver Canucks, but no one went as high as Cherry did when he was asked which player from the 2008 class would have the most impact.

“The guy I’m in love with is Cody Hodgson for Vancouver. Everywhere he’s been, he’s been a captain. I will say that he will be the captain of Vancouver Canucks someday. I’ve watched the kid. He’s got that I don’t know what it is about a captain, a leader. He will be the guy. Stamkos is automatic, don’t get me wrong. But Cody Hodgson, I hope to keep him. This kid’s going to be in the National Hockey League, sort of like a Steve Yzerman. I can’t say anything higher than that.”

Cherry’s effusive praise takes us on so many tangents: He’s watched the kid play! Future captain of the Canucks! YZERMAN! It wouldn’t be difficult to imagine Hodgson as some sort of hockey demigod after reading that. So, how did those lofty expectations pan out?

A nagging back injury delayed the start of Hodgson’s NHL career, but he produced 41 points in his rookie season and finished eighth in Calder voting. A trade to the Buffalo Sabres led to two more promising years and a fat contract extension (six years, $25.5 million) before his production dropped off a cliff. Buffalo bought out the final four years of Hodgson’s deal after a disastrous 2014-15 season and he only made it halfway through the season with the Nashville Predators last year before they placed him on waivers.

Predators general manager David Poile offered the most frank and damning assessment of Hodgson:

“We signed him to enhance our (offence) and it didn’t happen,” Poile said. “You look for other areas that maybe a player can help you — checking or penalty killing or some other area. Really, I think we were pretty honest with Cody and told him that he had to produce offensively, and he hasn’t.”

Poile is essentially saying Hodgson is not reliable on defense, can’t hit, and his offensive production is too inconsistent – the exact same kind of criticism Cherry leans on to stereotype Swedes and Russians. The only difference here is birthplace, which explains why Cherry has been eerily silent about Hodgson (a.k.a. the next Steve Yzerman) as unrestricted free agency approaches.

Hodgson had everything: a birth certificate with “Toronto” on it, the jawline of Liev Schreiber…


…if only any of those things had any bearing on hockey talent or future success. Alas, they don’t, and neither does the opinion of Don Cherry.

5 Hilarious Logos That Prove ECHL Teams Give No Fucks

The ECHL is the third tier of professional hockey in North America. It’s basically one step above that beer league at your local arena and franchises move or fold so often that one somehow ended up in Alaska despite the first two letters of the league’s acronym standing for “East Coast.” The loose, low-stakes nature of the ECHL is evident in everything from its pre-game ceremonies to these five team logos, which show how hilarious hockey teams can be when they give no fucks:

Evansville Icemen

This guy is stuck somewhere between a villain from that ‘90s Batman cartoon and a Wampa. If you thought hockey equipment smelled bad under a jersey, you definitely don’t want to get a whiff of the inside of that parka.

Florida Everblades

I think the alligator is supposed to double as a skate boot, which would be difficult to pull off, as anyone with experience wearing alligators will tell you.

Greenville Swamp Rabbits

The alternate version of this logo looks like Bugs Bunny’s half-brother Brett, who found his calling in competitive sports instead of smooth talking and carrot thieving. And I have no idea what’s going on with his stick.

Missouri Mavericks

This is all wrong. Why is the Disney horse so upset? And who thought it would be a good idea to give it skates and a stick? Horses + ice = bad news. It’s basic math, Missouri.

Orlando Solar Bears

Global warming never seemed so cool, even if the energy requirement for making ice in Orlando is part of the problem. At least now we know where the Coca-Cola bear spends his offseason.