BUFFALO – About 16 media members, most of them from Vancouver, surrounded Sabres center Cody Hodgson this morning.
The Canucks, of course, traded Hodgson on Feb. 27, 2012 amid speculation his relationship with the team had soured, he wanted more playing time and his father had become too involved in his hockey affairs.
Naturally, Hodgson didn’t want to talk about any of that.
“I’m happy to be here for the next six years,” Hodgson, who signed a $25.5 million extension last month, politely told the throng inside the First Niagara Center dressing room. “That’s all I’m going to talk about right now.”
The 23-year-old didn’t skate this morning but will play tonight. Hodgson has been playing hurt and skipping morning skates.
He’s just about over the undisclosed injury, though.
“He’s actually real close,” Sabres coach Ron Rolston said. “I think we’re probably in the last week of it right now. So he’s playing through some things.”
While Hodgson wouldn’t talk about his past, Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo shared one memory about his old teammate.
“I just remember his big head,” he joked.
Meanwhile, winger Zemgus Girgensons, who took a shot off the face in Tuesday’s 4-3 shootout win over the Islanders, will sit tonight. The rookie joined this morning’s skate in progress wearing a full cage. He could play Saturday, Rolston said.
“It’s come a long way over a short period of time,” Rolston said.
Following a one-game absence, 19-year-old Mikhail Grigorenko will return. The Russian will center John Scott and Cody McCormick, the fourth line.
Johan Larsson will center Kevin Porter, the fourth-line center Tuesday, and Brian Flynn. Ryan Miller will start in goal.
In other news, rookie defenseman Nikita Zadorov is still skating with the club. The 18-year-old hurt his finger during the preseason finale.
“He’s just getting back to healthy right now,” Rolston said.
Winger Patrick Kaleta, who will serve the fourth of his 10-game suspension tonight, skated with his teammates in a full face shield.