The drama surrounding Vancouver Canucks top prospect Cody Hodgson continued Friday when the NHL team announced that he was not ready for duty this weekend.
Hodgson will miss a prospects camp, which begins Sunday in Penticton, B.C., after a series of medical evaluations this week, and he was not made available to the media at Rogers Arena.
The 20-year-old, who declared himself fit during a brief exchange with reporters on Thursday, has yet to tell his side of the story about a torn back muscle that doctors - both his own and on the Canucks' payroll - missed. General manager Mike Gillis revealed earlier this week that doctors were focused on a slightly bulging disc that seemed innocent, and only discovered the torn muscle in April.
That handed Hodgson, a former first-round pick, a huge heaping of vindication because while he complained of the ailment last year in training camp, Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault suggested that the injury might have been in Hodgson's head, or an excuse for his underwhelming performance. Ultimately, it cost the former Canadian world junior star most of his age-19 season, and set him back in his battle for an NHL roster spot.
"I won't get into those specifics, in due time we'll be able to share everything with you," Vigneault said when asked if the Canucks owed Hodgson an apology. "Before we talk about misdiagnosis, I have, and we all have, complete confidence in our medical staff."
Vigneault wouldn't specify whether Hodgson was still hampered by the torn back muscle or whether another injury was keeping him off the ice. Gillis said that the Canucks would take no chances with the 10th pick in the 2008 draft, and not let him participate unless he was 100 per cent healthy.
The centre man will be evaluated again over the next week, and the Canucks will update his status by Sept. 17, when veterans report to camp. Hodgson sustained the injury 14 months ago while doing shuttle-run exercises under Canucks supervision.
He missed all but 13 games with the Brampton Battalion of the Ontario Hockey League last season before graduating to the American Hockey League's Manitoba Moose, Vancouver's farm club. He competed in 11 AHL playoff games, but also had a scary incident when he slid head-first into the boards after being tripped on a breakaway.