TORONTO – When Cody McCormick cleared waivers at noon today, officially freeing up a roster spot, Kevin Porter hit the ice inside the Air Canada Centre.
His new Buffalo Sabres teammates tapped their sticks in appreciation before the center joined the workout.
The reeling Sabres, who will be led by new interim coach Ron Rolston for the first time tonight against the Maple Leafs, desperately need an on-ice savior.
Porter, a 14-goal scorer with Colorado two years ago, probably won’t be that guy. But Rolston, Porter’s coach all season with the Americans, believes the 26-year-old will help his struggling team.
“He just brings a lot of character, a lot of jam, speed, low maintenance,” Rolston said. “He just goes out and does his job. He’s a leader for us in Rochester.”
Porter has 15 goals and 44 points in 48 games as captain of the AHL club. He was recalled Wednesday.
“The season was going really well down there,” said Porter, a spare part last season with Colorado. “With the lockout, I wanted to get there and play games and make sure I was still in shape in case I did get this call.”
Count Porter among those who think Rolston will do fine taking over for Lindy Ruff, who was fired after 15 seasons on Wednesday.
“He’s a teacher,” Porter said. “He’s good with young players, but I think he’s going to fit in well with the older guys, too. He’s a smart guy, he knows what he’s doing and he teaches defensive strategy really well.”
McCormick, meanwhile, will report to the Amerks, his first AHL stint since 2009-10. The 29-year-old played eight games this season before he was yanked from practice Wednesday.
“Middle of practice, too,” Sabres winger Drew Stafford said. “Sometimes you forget how ugly the business of hockey can be. We saw that in two ways yesterday.”