No rift between Canucks and Cody Hodgson: Gillis


There is no rift between the Vancouver Canucks and Cody Hodgson and the elite prospect remains committed to playing for the National Hockey League club, general manager Mike Gillis insisted Saturday.<br />


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There is no rift between the Vancouver Canucks and Cody Hodgson and the elite prospect remains committed to playing for the National Hockey League club, general manager Mike Gillis insisted Saturday.

Gillis claimed there is a significant difference between perception and reality after newspaper reports Friday quoting Hodgson indicated the 19-year-old centre from Toronto was unhappy with the Canucks because he no longer planned to train under player-development guru Dave Gagner.

During a conference call Friday to discuss his successful return to junior hockey in Brampton after a back injury suffered while training last July, Hodgson offered abrupt answers when asked about the Canucks.

"I won't be training with Mr. Gagner," Hodgson said. "I feel I have good trainers here I can work with."

Gillis said there is a good reason Hodgson won't train with Gagner: the Canuck employee has relocated to Vancouver from London, Ont.

"We met in Toronto with Cody and [agent] Don Meehan to talk about where he was in his recovery," Gillis said, referring to a summit three weeks ago that included assistant GM Laurence Gilman. "It was a very productive meeting. We went through Cody's training schedule, what he wanted to do and who he was working with and his skating coach. We were satisfied he is moving in the right direction. We left that meeting on very good terms.

"Dave Gagner spoke to Cody right after that press conference [on Friday]. They talk by telephone and talk online. Dave communicates with him in a variety of ways. He does that with all our prospects, and he'll continue to do that for Cody."

He said Gagner's job is not to go on the ice and coach players, but to plan a prospect's development, identifying areas to improve and how to achieve it.

Gillis said he listened to a podcast of Hodgson's conference call after he was contacted by a Vancouver reporter late Friday and believes the 2008 first-round draft pick is being unfairly portrayed.

Gillis told that reporter "I don't care," but said he was referring not to Hodgson's comments but the writer's version of events.

"I've listened to it; I've seen what he said," Gillis said of the conference call. "There's a serious gap with ‘I'm working in Toronto with qualified people' to ‘I don't want to work with Dave Gagner.' Because that's not what he said."

Hodgson also gave a clipped answer when asked about Canuck coach Alain Vigneault, who told The Vancouver Sun after Hodgson was returned to junior that the centre, who sought an independent medical assessment of his back, may have been looking for an excuse for his disappointing training camp.

That remark apparently upset Hodgson's family, although Gillis said no one has expressed that sentiment to him.

SWEDISH WATCH LIST: Apparently Swedish Olympic officials didn't go "bleep themselves," as Canuck Mikael Samuelsson suggested when they omitted the veteran from the 23-player Olympic roster named in December. They put Samuelsson and Canuck defenceman Alex Edler on an eight-player reserve list in case the Swedish roster changes before the tournament begins Feb. 16.

Edler confirmed he was called by Swedish coach Bengt-Ake Gustafsson and told to stand by. Samuelsson was reportedly contacted by email, although the 33-year-old refuses to discuss it. Nearly every significant Swedish player has spoken publicly in support of Samuelsson, who was on the 2006 gold-medal winning Swedish team.

"We were all surprised he wasn't on it," Canuck Daniel Sedin said recently of the 2010 roster. "Everyone thought he should be."
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