McLeod’s Ceiling Similar To Former Rangers Tough Guy
Let’s get it out of the way: I liked Tanner Glass. Every fan’s evisceration of that always smiling, always grinding, semi-enforcer who rarely took off a shift in terms of energy always made me chuckle as if there was a better game-ready suit in the rafters waiting to take his place that did what he did. I say ‘semi’ because I actually liked his deceptive quickness to-the-man and he every so often scored something important.
Everyone though just saw him as a roadblock to letting the kids play and getting their experience time in. Meanwhile, never mind the fact that AV handled youth development like a NIMBY old man yelling at a cloud, with a lot of gum chewing.
Despite the double entendre, Cody McLeod is the modern day Rangers’ Tanner Glass. He’s a hard-working, mostly slogging but rough-and-tumble winger that is out there to create havoc and protect the children. Let’s face it, it’s him and sometimes Zuccarello, which is crazy considering there’s big Chris Kreider and a huge Kevin Hayes and…ok that’s it really; no one else really gets in anyone’s face anymore, or even much go out of their way to finish a check, really. At least not the way McLeod does.
He plays anywhere from 6-8 minutes per game, and when going well, he should get in one good ‘hit’ per minute. No points; never any points. Almost exclusively minuses or zeroes on the stat sheet. It’s an inglorious package that is hard to appreciate unless you are there and paying attention when he makes a hit that stuns/pins in a player against the boards in their own zone; so that someone with skill can grab the puck and do something positive with it.
Cody’s been solid of late, complimenting David Quinn’s no-nonsense style and level of accountability quite well. Under Alain Vigneault, the fit was not good for Cody, but I’d more attribute that to AV having *so* lost the room/clubhouse/arena/zip code that he could have put Dancing Larry on the fourth line and it wouldn’t have mattered. The Nashville game last season where Vesey got nailed with a nasty elbow and Staal got rammed into the end boards, to which Cody promptly did – nothing. Was that on him? AV? Who knows, but my money’s on the guy that didn’t do this and this.
DQ’s night & day different coaching style in almost every way speaks so well to a bruiser/cruncher like Mr. McLeod. Truth be told, at age 34, it’s really all he has left to give a hockey club; try and create space with his body, get the fancy talents like Laine/Matthews/Barzal looking over their shoulders just a little. Everyone is playing harder too, and it’s why they’re second in the division. Have we ever seen Vesey play with this much energy; dare I say a little snarl? Even Zibanejad. Life, feeds on life, feeds on life.
In what is most likely one of his last hurrahs, this is a good fit for Cody McLeod under David Quinn. The style is simple, straightforward, and so far, effective. Fans are often confounded why coach after coach still call on guys like Cody, Ryan Reaves, Matt Martin, et. al. when they turn on NHL Tonight and watch clips of Connor McDavid look like he’s on an electric bicycle coming down the middle of the ice…but there’s only one of him; the rest of us need people to help open up that middle.
Also, Edmonton is terrible.