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Cody McCormick Comes Back To Cook Up Some Calamity

07/02/10
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In a move no one saw coming, especially not the AP’s John Wawrow, Darcy Regier re-signed bruising center Cody McCormick to a great one-year, one-way deal worth $500K. It might not be a news-making deal, but it’s a damn good one nonetheless.

The Sabres’ physical play that was so touted after a 2-1 game one victory over the Boston Bruins had gone stale. The Sabres continued to score first, but had begun coughing up third-period collapses for the first time all season. So, in a bit of a desperation move, Darcy Regier called up Cody McCormick to inject some testicular fortitude into the line-up. Oh, how it worked.

McCormick’s first playoff game with the Sabres saw him hit, crunch, and plow his way through the Bruins en route to a spirited three-man goon squad mugging of cheap tactic-employing Bruins captain Zdeno Chara. This much was to be expected. What no one saw coming though was the offensive upside he offered as a fourth liner, but he surely brought that, too. It’s a sad state of affairs for your top two centers when a called-up fourth liner has either tied (ahem, Roy) or outscored (cough, Connolly) them, but that’s what McCormick did. And now he’ll be back to offer a full season’s worth of his play, courtesy of the new one-way deal he inked today with the Sabres.

I see this as a serious upgrade on the fourth line. Cody is a genuinely-tough guy who will teach you a lesson for disrespecting his teammates or running his goalie. He can actually play hockey too, unlike departing 4th line center Adam Mair. Mair would have games where he would dominate on the walls and open ice only to vanish for weeks afterward. While McCormick may do the same, he’s making half of what Mair was.

With McCormick signed and Kaleta’s new deal imminent (I would hope), the Sabres have committed to building a competent 4th line capable of making plays in addition to the expected goonery. With noted pugilist Zenon Konopka signing on Long Island (he of 265 PIMS and 33 fighting majors in 09/10), the Sabres may not be able to build a post-lockout line to rival Ray, May, and Barnaby, but they’re 2/3rds of the way there already.

Ooh, it’s gonna be fun to watch the havoc #8 can wreak and the justice he’ll dole out. Heaven help the opposing forward who encroaches upon Ryan Miller’s crease.

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