Hayden Hodgson is just a good ol' boy from Windsor. He was an undrafted kid who spent 5 seasons playing in the OHL. From there, he signed a contract in the AHL, but spent a good chunk of the last 5 years playing in the ECHL. He made his NHL debut with the Flyers a couple of seasons ago as a 25-year-old and played 6 games in the 2021-22 season, and 1 NHL game in the 2022-23 season.
The fact of the matter here is that Hayden Hodgson is desperate to make an NHL roster. He has spent far too many years riding busses to games. He's spent far too long staying at shitty hotels, eating ham & cheese sandwiches and a bag of chips for dinner, and having the assistant coach also serve as the team trainer and Zamboni driver. He's 27 now and if he's ever going to make an NHL roster full time, he needs to make a mark in preseason. So if that means he needs to absolutely bury the shit out of Mark Stone--Stanley Cup winning captain of the Vegas Golden Knights--in a preseason game? Well then so be it. He has a team to make, and that's a way to make an impression.
It's also going to cause the rest of the Golden Knights lineup to want to take his head off, but that's a small price to pay to show management you're willing to do what it takes. While the punches thrown in the scrum probably didn't feel great, however, nothing could have hurt more than this quote from Stone after the game.
Big hit delivered by Hodgson on the ice, but absolute kill shot delivered by Stone to the media.
If I'm Kings GM Rob Blake right now, I feel like I almost have to keep Hodgson on the team. You can't have Mark Stone going around doing your job for you and sending guys back to the minors in a post-game press scrum. Not only should you keep Hodgson in the lineup, but throw a letter on his sweater. Really rub it in that Mark Stone can't make those calls for you. Or at the very least, keep him in the lineup for the 4 times you play against Vegas this year.