BUFFALO – Naturally, waiving gritty forward Cody McCormick today begs the question: do the struggling Sabres have another move in mind?
“We’ve talked about it,” Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said this afternoon following a 90-minute practice inside the First Niagara Center. “It hasn’t been confirmed yet.”
Does that mean a recall from Rochester or even a trade could be imminent? Stay tuned.
The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle’s Kevin Oklobzija floated the theory McCormick’s roster spot could be used to recall Americans goalie David Leggio and send Sabres backup Jhonas Enroth on an AHL conditioning assignment. Enroth hasn’t won a game in nearly 15 months.
Teams have until noon Thursday to claim the 29-year-old McCormick, who plays center and wing and can take a regular shift and fight.
McCormick was practicing today before the Sabres pulled him off the ice.
Tough guy John Scott and agitator Patrick Kaleta, two wingers, made McCormick expendable.
“I think that part of it is with John there, we’re crowded at that position,” Ruff said. “With Pat Kaleta at the right side, I tried to play (McCormick) a little at center. We have too much of almost the same thing.”
McCormick played 81 games two years ago, emerging as an asset while compiling eight goals, 20 points and 142 penalty minutes. He was by far the Sabres’ best fighter.
“He’s a warrior, just plain and simple. The guy’s a warrior,” Sabres winger Steve Ott said. “It’s tough when he’s willing to fight and lay his body and his game on the line for the guys in here. When there’s lack of success, it’s always hard to see when it’s put upon a different teammate.”
But McCormick struggled last season after earning a three-year, $3.6 million contract. He battled concussions and a finger injury that bothered him into the current season.
He has only one goal and four points in 58 games over the last two years, including zero points in eight contests this season.
He’s been a frequent healthy scratch, although he played the last two games and fought Pittsburgh’s Tanner Glass on Sunday.
Ruff has said he could win with the Sabres’ current lineup. But if they keep playing as wretchedly as Tuesday’s 2-1 loss to Winnipeg, a game fans booed them throughout, he knows the roster must change.
“If we’re going to be like this, it isn’t working the way we’re going,” Ruff said. “I think the indication today is we’re going to have to try some things, and that’s what we’re talking about.”