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Gary Roberts Calls Mike Gillis A 'moron' For Comments About Hodgson

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From today's Province:

Well it looks like the other skate has finally dropped. After Canucks GM. Mike Gillis’ state of the union address last week, in which he essentially compared Cody Hodgson’s career as a Canuck to Art Garfunkel’s solo career or the vanilla in a carton of neopolitan ice cream, the Cody Hodgson camp has finally answered back.

Former NHL curmudgeon Gary Roberts, turned “hockey whisperer” knows a little something about spinning NHL rookies into gold. Robert’s current stable includes such stars as: Steven Stamkos, Michael Del Zotto and Jeff Skinner.

Cody Hodgson also happens to be a client of Roberts and his unique combination of strength, conditioning, and strict diet regimen as a lifestyle choice and roadmap to NHL success. This is what Roberts’ had to say about Mike Gillis’ comments:

I talked to Cody after this came out with Gillis,” Roberts said. “I know he’s on vacation, and I said, ‘Hey, I know you went through a lot of stress. How are you feeling about some of those comments?’ He said, ‘Gary, I’ve dealt with a lot of stuff there in the last three years, and I’m just going to take the high road.

“For me, I’d like to be the guy that looks at Mike Gillis and says, ‘You’re a moron.’ It doesn’t really do anybody any good other than the fact that Mike Gillis looks like, as they say on TSN, a dud.”

If these were the comments of an agent, a disgruntled parent or supermodel girlfriend it would be so much easier to shrug them off as sour grapes from a player no longer part of a Stanley Cup contender.

roberts.jpg

"I don't care what you say, that girl from the Black Eye Peas is creepy. Now give me 20!"

But this is Gary Roberts, the guy that is systematically pumping out more NHL talent than the midwife at the Staal farm. Roberts continued on with his critique of Mike Gillis’ comments:

“I listened to Mike Gillis the other day,” Roberts said by phone over the weekend, “and my impression was, ‘Are you kidding me?’

“If anybody knew this kid, this young man, to know what he went through mentally and physically for two summers trying to find out what the heck was wrong with him — of course they dealt with his issues more than anybody else in the organization because he was injured and they couldn’t figure out what was wrong with him.

“It almost was like they thought he didn’t want to work. Well, I can tell you that this kid out of all the kids that I train, he’s up there in the [steven] Stamkos group as far as commitment and determination. What I tell him, he does, so I know he’s coachable and I love working with him.”

Hodgson is currently in his third summer as a client of Gary Roberts’ and according to Roberts, it will be Hodgson’s time to shine mostly because it will be the first time he’ll [Hodgson] be completely healthy:

“Last summer, we trained him the way he should be trained. That was one summer of training in three he was really able to do what he needed to do.”- Gary Roberts

“He’s a pretty strong kid, but it’s his speed and power that we’re really going to focus on this summer. Now that he’s healthy I have a pretty good feeling that he will be a faster and more powerful guy in September, which will help him develop into the player that he should have been two years ago if he would have been healthy.” – Gary Roberts

Hodgson hurt his back in the summer of 2009. Initially it was diagnosed as a bulging disc and Hodgson should have mended quite quickly. Unfortunately, it was the injury that began a long spiral down for Hodgson’s time with the Canucks culminating with the trade for Zack Kassian at the trade deadline this past season.

]Interestingly, it was Roberts’ “team” that found the real cause for the injury:

“Just watching him move in the gym, I said, ‘Cody, something’s not right,’” Roberts said. “He wasn’t getting better. He could do some things, but as soon as you loaded him at all he had issues. Fortunate enough, we found a tear in his multifidus muscle in his back, which is really your major back stabilizer muscle, and that was really where things, I think, turned around for him.”- Gary Roberts

Hodgson is completely healthy for the first time since he entered the NHL and if Roberts’ past success stories with Steven Stamkos, James Neal and Jeff Skinner are any indication, the 2012 – 2013 could be a breakout season for the former 1st round pick.

On a related note, Zack Kassian is a huge fan of pressbox nachos.

Interesting stuff. So... is Hodgson really 'taking the high road' or again, by not denying anything, did he really ask for a trade?

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Buffalo News: http://www.buffalonews.com/sports/sabres-nhl/article834441.ece

Gary Roberts knows Cody Hodgson well. The retired 22-year veteran of the NHL has seen Hodgson try to train through a debilitating injury. Roberts has seen his young son take to Hodgson, and he watched the center respond by having daily lunches with the 4-year-old boy on Roberts' patio. Roberts has seen the drive and desire Hodgson has to be a successful hockey player.

With all Roberts has seen, he couldn't believe his ears.

While recapping the trade that made Hodgson a member of the Buffalo Sabres, Vancouver General Manager Mike Gillis essentially said last week he was glad to be rid of the center.

"I spent more time on Cody's issues than every other player combined on our team the last three years," Gillis said.

Roberts was flabbergasted.

"I listened to Mike Gillis the other day," Roberts said by phone over the weekend, "and my impression was, 'Are you kidding me?'

"If anybody knew this kid, this young man, to know what he went through mentally and physically for two summers trying to find out what the heck was wrong with him -- of course they dealt with his issues more than anybody else in the organization because he was injured and they couldn't figure out what was wrong with him.

"It almost was like they thought he didn't want to work. Well, I can tell you that this kid out of all the kids that I train, he's up there in the [steven] Stamkos group as far as commitment and determination. What I tell him, he does, so I know he's coachable and I love working with him."

Roberts, obviously, was fired up by Gillis' comments. Not surprisingly, Hodgson seems to have brushed them off.

Since joining the Sabres two months ago, the 22-year-old has repeatedly declined to look back at his time in the Canucks organization. He doesn't want to dwell on a stint filled with a misdiagnosed back injury, questions about his commitment and attitude, disagreements regarding playing time and, possibly, a trade request.

"I talked to Cody after this came out with Gillis," Roberts said. "I know he's on vacation, and I said, 'Hey, I know you went through a lot of stress. How are you feeling about some of those comments?' He said, 'Gary, I've dealt with a lot of stuff there in the last three years, and I'm just going to take the high road.'

"For me, I'd like to be the guy that looks at Mike Gillis and says, 'You're a moron.' It doesn't really do anybody any good other than the fact that Mike Gillis looks like, as they say on TSN, a dud."

Roberts is certain Hodgson will be anything but a dud. Hodgson is preparing for his third summer training under Roberts, and the fitness guru with a Stanley Cup and Masterton Trophy on his resume says this offseason will be the best of Hodgson's life.

"I'm looking forward to this year really being an opportunity for him to really explode as far as his conditioning goes," Roberts said.

Hodgson's ability to work out is what gives Roberts his confidence. For too long, Hodgson wasn't able to do much.

The center hurt his back in the summer of 2009. The convoluted chain of events following the injury is the main reason the 10th overall pick in the 2009 draft is in Buffalo and Zack Kassian, the 13th pick in 2009, is Vancouver.

Doctors diagnosed Hodgson's injury as a bulging disc that shouldn't be much trouble. When it was, there was surprise, disappointment and mocking, including disparaging remarks from Canucks coach Alain Vigneault.

Hodgson struggled through 2009-10. He failed to make the Canucks out of training camp and played just 24 games for his junior team. When he tried to join Vancouver's minor-league team for the playoffs, doctors wouldn't clear him to play.

That summer, Hodgson went to Roberts.

"Just watching him move in the gym, I said, 'Cody, something's not right,'" Roberts said. "He wasn't getting better. He could do some things, but as soon as you loaded him at all he had issues. Fortunate enough, we found a tear in his multifidus muscle in his back, which is really your major back stabilizer muscle, and that was really where things, I think, turned around for him."

Hodgson put up 30 points in 52 minor-league games in 2010-11. He played another 20 games with Vancouver, including 12 in the playoffs.

This season, as a rookie, he took off. Hodgson had 16 goals and 33 points in 63 games with the Canucks, then had three goals and eight points in 20 games with the Sabres.

"It's a real honor to play in this league, and to play a full season is obviously something you dream of as a kid," Hodgson said. "It was a good year. I just wish I could have done more to help Buffalo get in the playoffs."

The Sabres are counting on Hodgson to help them get there next season.

"It's exciting because Cody Hodgson has been a good addition, is going to fit in very well with a group of players," Buffalo GM Darcy Regier said. "Not just the team as a whole but even a younger subset whether it's Tyler Myers, [Tyler] Ennis, [Drew] Stafford, and I think that that is a positive."

If Hodgson's growth curve mirrors that of Roberts' other well-known pupils, he will be the No. 1 center the Sabres need. Tampa Bay's Stamkos works with Roberts and has grown into a 60-goal scorer and MVP finalist. Pittsburgh's James Neal scored 40 times. Florida's Stephen Weiss has turned into a perennial 20-goal scorer. Carolina's Jeff Skinner was the 2011 Rookie of the Year.

"A lot of people think it's just pushing the weights and doing the workouts and stuff, but it's more than that," Hodgson said. "It's about vitamins. It's about taking care of yourself not just in the gym or on the ice, but away from the ice, too, getting the proper rest, nutrition, doctors, soft tissue guys, chiropractors -- take care of yourself throughout the year so you're not missing games and you're always feeling at your peak."

Said Roberts: "Last summer, we trained him the way he should be trained. That was one summer of training in three he was really able to do what he needed to do.

"He's a pretty strong kid, but it's his speed and power that we're really going to focus on this summer. Now that he's healthy I have a pretty good feeling that he will be a faster and more powerful guy in September, which will help him develop into the player that he should have been two years ago if he would have been healthy."

A second full summer of training combined with a full season getting accustomed to the Sabres has Hodgson eager to show he belongs, no matter what anyone at his previous home says.

"I think about myself as a Buffalo Sabre now," Hodgson said. "I think we have a really good team, and I think next year coming back hopefully we'll be even stronger. I'm excited to see what we can do."

So is Roberts.

"I totally respect what he's gone through," Roberts said. "I think Buffalo's got not only a great player but a really good young man who's going to be there hopefully a long time."

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Gary was a player that struggled with long term injury as well, I can see him being sensitive about this kind of thing.

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Gillis did the right thing in trading him if he didn't wanna stay here... but he's an idiot for telling the media about it.

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MG did the wrong thing, you should never bash a player on the way out. He only did it because he go robed on the trade and wanted to make the trade look better. It was a classless move that I hope never happens again.

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This article makes me sick because I know Roberts speaks the truth. Gillis and the Canucks totally dropped the ball with this trade.

THAT BEING SAID......I think Roberts is assuming here that the issues Gillis was referring to were Hodgson's injury issues. I don't necessarily think that's what Gillis was talking about. Look at the work Gillis put in to deal with Rypien and his mental struggles. He's not going to throw someone under the bus for their medical issues. I think he was referring to a few attitude problems and some drama with the agent and family.

At the end of the day, though, Hodgson was not handled right by this organization and I believe it begins and ends with the coach. AV never really jived with Hodgson from the get go and I can bet he had a say in his departure. I fear that Hodgson was willing to work things out but Gillis catered to his coach that he adores so much and cut Hodgson loose.

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SILLY GOOSE' timestamp=1335797248' post='10622455]

If I was Gary, I'd be out protecting my business interests as well, that being golden eggs.

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Guest PUNJABI CANUCK

I agree with Gary. Gillis is a moron, it wasn't necessary to make those comments about Hodgson.

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Gillis did the right thing in trading him if he didn't wanna stay here... but he's an idiot for telling the media about it.

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This article makes me sick because I know Roberts speaks the truth. Gillis and the Canucks totally dropped the ball with this trade.

THAT BEING SAID......I think Roberts is assuming here that the issues Gillis was referring to were Hodgson's injury issues. I don't necessarily think that's what Gillis was talking about. Look at the work Gillis put in to deal with Rypien and his mental struggles. He's not going to throw someone under the bus for their medical issues. I think he was referring to a few attitude problems and some drama with the agent and family.

At the end of the day, though, Hodgson was not handled right by this organization and I believe it begins and ends with the coach. AV never really jived with Hodgson from the get go and I can bet he had a say in his departure. I fear that Hodgson was willing to work things out but Gillis catered to his coach that he adores so much and cut Hodgson loose.

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Well he had to defend his own a** for making the trade, in which many people were upset about and calling for him to be fired because "Hodgson lost us the LA Series"

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I think Gillis made the comments because it justifies (in his mind anyway) why he made the trade.

Call it "damage control".

But then, I figure he didn't expect Gary Roberts to call him out as a "moron"...

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