Cody Bass #32 of the Columbus Blue Jackets carries the puck past Jonathan Ericsson #52 of the Detroit Red Wings last October. Bass is dedicating his summer to getting another shot in Columbus. (Photo by Dave Sandford/Getty Images)
Scorers were added (Alexandre Giroux, Martin St. Pierre), character guys were added (Adam Mair, Ryan Garlock) and leadership was added (Dane Byers, Andrew Joudrey, Nick Drazenovic). I've said many times throughout the season that there was no way to envision a season in which both clubs suffered through a never ending parade of major injuries. Further compounding things for the Falcons were the necessary callups and to a lesser extent, suspensions also played a factor.
Throughout the season, one of the guys who exemplified the terms "character guy", "heart and soul" and "leader" was Cody Bass. Bass was brought into the Jackets family, fresh off winning the Calder Cup as captain of the Binghamton Senators. He was also named the AHL's Man of the Year in 2011 for his Cody Bass WINGS foundation, a foundation established to offer teens somewhere to turn when it seemed that suicide might be their only choice through tough times.
When asked about coming to the Blue Jackets organization:
"...we (Bass and his agent) thought it would be a really good fit for me. ..With Scott Howson and Chris MacFarland, if you deserve a chance, you get a chance."
On his time with the Jackets last season, I asked if we've seen the best of Cody Bass:
"I have this fire in me. With Chris and Scott signing me, I owe it to them and the organization to work harder. I have that goal to play in the NHL."
On putting the needs of the team ahead of his own health:
"We still had a shot to make playoffs. I wanted to be part of it. I wanted to do what I can to help the team make playoffs. It was a tough decision and a risky one on my part."
When asked about the sting of an injury shortened season:
"Nobody wants to be in the stands with a sling around their arm. We get paid to play hockey - that's our job. For me to be up in the stands, I'm not doing my job. There's only one place I'd rather be and that's on the ice."
On his re-signing with Columbus:
"Columbus was very good with me. They treated me well all year from start to finish...They helped me out a lot. I feel it's a great organization."
About the coaching change announced this week for the Falcons:
"With Rob Riley, it was a shock. Rob is a great guy and a good coach."
Speaking on the WINGS foundation:
"It was a very, very tough year for me mentally and physically. I spoke to the Springfield PR guys (about it) and it's something that I'm definitely going to continue on with next year."
I'll add that there was no hesitation at all on Bass' part. One of his mentors, Senators assistant coach Luke Richardson, suffered through a devastating event when his daughter took her own life at age 14. Instinctively, Cody Bass knew the right thing to do. That was, establish a support network so that other teens who might be considering a similar fate, had somewhere to turn. The WINGS foundation is just one facet of a very complex and caring person in Cody Bass. The foundation has a website where donations are accepted at CodyBassWINGS.com .
For the entire 22 minute conversation, please click here.