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It was a bit of a whirlwind time for Sabres center Cody Hodgson last Spring.
He went from being on a top team in Vancouver to a team fighting just to make the postseason. He was acquired in the middle of a long road trip which required an unusually excessive amount of travel; he had to fly from Vancouver to Buffalo to California. He was also inserted right into the top line for the Sabres and was immediately expected to help spark a team that was desperate for offense.
Now Hodgson has had a chance to digest his new surroundings, and become acclimated to his new team.
“I’ve been in and out of the city numerous times already,” said Hodgson. “There was a lot of away games when I came here so I’m just really familiarizing myself with everything and learning how things work. I was kinda thrown into it as we were getting going there when I got traded.”
Hodgson was clearly a step ahead of everyone in his group during the first session of the team’s prospect development camp. He was controlling the puck around defenders easily, and had a nice chemistry with Luke Adam for the entire session.
“”Its definitely refreshing,” he said about being at the camp. “It’s fun to be back on the ice in a competetive atmosphere.”
Hodgson said that he took a couple of weeks off after the season ended to relax and get refreshed. He’s now back to training six days a week with Gary Roberts to keep himself in hockey shape.
When Hodgson was first traded to Buffalo, the general feeling was that he would become either the team’s first or second line center. With Derek Roy now gone to Dallas, Hodgson knows the opportunity that’s in front of him.
“”I knew coming here last year there was a big opportunity,” he said. “It’s even bigger now with position [available]. At the same time I don’t change my focus. I come here to work, and do my best, and play the way I can play. The rest takes care of itself. ”
The camp isn’t Hodgson’s first time at an event like this, he participated in Vancouver’s prospect camp last season. However, he will admit that there are plenty of differences between the two.
“We never had any of the Navy Seal training, obviously,” he joked. “It’s a real good intensity. We’re learning alot as well. We have nutrion seminars. Skating seminars. Our workouts are all logged. So many resources and people involved that we can take in as much as we can.”
It all helps with Hodgson’s goal of becoming a better NHL’er. He was sure to mention how much he values his time at the camp,
“It’s a great camp to spend a little bit more time in Buffalo. Get on the ice with some competetive skates before the season. Get everything fined tuned and ready to go. I’ll have another month and a bit to keep continuing with Gary ROberts doing hte workouts and the skates. I’m hopefully gonna have a great season. It starts today.”
When Hodgson was first dealt to the Sabres, there were plenty of rumors surrounding him about why the Canucks decided to deal him. When asked if wanted to show Vancouver that they made a mistake in trading him, Hodgson just wanted to focus on making the Sabres and their fans proud.
“First of all I’m just happy to be here in a great situation. In a real hockey market,” said Hodgson. “All of the great fans that pay attention all the time and give us support. Great ownership here. Just the whole organization is really well run. I’m happy to be part of it.
“I want to be part of this team for a long time.”