The role of the enforcer in the NHL is a tough one. It has all the benefits of boxing and you’re still expected to do all the other things that good hockey players are supposed to.
Cody McCormick is one of the men who has taken this road to the NHL and now he is in a battle to prove that he’s still useful.
On Thursday night against Boston McCormick fought Gregory Campbell and Milan Lucic. Could that have anything to do with the fact that Jochen Hecht was coming back soon and someone will be sitting? McCormick has likely survived that return, but what about when Pat Kaleta comes back?
McCormick started the season as the 12/13th forward, splitting games with Nathan Gerbe. Throughout the season he has gained Lindy Ruff’s confidence. He has played on all lines, in all situations, in every forward position and has contributed.
McCormick is currently 4th in the NHL with 16 fighting majors. He has proven to be a viable option for a team that no longer will employ a classic enforcer. He defends his teammates and he helps offensively and defensively.
On the year McCormick has eight goals and 18 points to go with 130 PIM. Only two players in the top-10 in fighting majors have more points. Those two players are Matt Hendricks and Brandon Prust. Prust is the only one with more goals. This tells me that McCormick is a viable asset.
McCormick has also been solid defensively posting a +6 so far this season on the fourth line. He has earned time on the penalty kill and has proven himself responsible on the ice. He has also shown the ability to be disciplined when he needs to be. This also tells that McCormick is an asset.
With Terry Pegula in place changes will be coming and they should. Personnel will be evaluated. Cody McCormick knows this, so he’ll keep fighting for his job. He’s earned one somewhere. I, for one, hope it is with the Buffalo Sabres.