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As regular readers of this blog know I, and more specifically the Jibblewife, has been critical of Cody McLeod. There are two types of pests, the ones who go out finish every check and just annoy the hell out of any opponent, but do it without resorting to dirty tactics and classless behavior (i.e. Ian LaPerriere). Then there's the classless pest who goes around and is basicall an ass. A good recap of those guys can be found over at MHH.

A few weeks ago I, and by "I" I mean the Jibblewife, noticed that Cody McLeod had fallen firmly into the latter camp. Jawing, unnecessarily, at opponents, only fighting guys who weren't really fighters and taking questionable (i.e. relatively dirty) shots at some players, ones that aren't really pests and don't really deserve it. Well McLeod obviously reads this site and has responded and cleaned up his act a little bit. I'll let the Jibblewife explain:

I feel compelled to follow-up on my argument that Cody McCleod is nothing more than an ice-ogre, contributing little more than entertainment to the casual fan. Since the trade deadline he has been in only one fight against Vancouver’s Rick Rypien on March 4th and had one roughing penalty (also against Vancouver). This is unusual behavior for the hot-tempered McLeod, and I gotta say I like it. If you have been watching the past few games you are aware of the scoring chances he’s creating, the turn-overs he’s forcing, and the overall solid play. It’s like watching a whole new player.

His new approach to the game is paying off too. Prior to the trade-deadline he was averaging 14.16 shifts per game and 9 minutes and 38 seconds. Post trade-deadline he’s averaging 18.33 shifts per game and 12 minutes and 13 seconds. Although he’s at -1 you have to believe that sooner or later his discipline and hard work will pay off. The question I have is can he hang in there long enough to reap the rewards of the changes he made, or will the ice-ogre in him take over again? (ed note. This was e-mailed to me on Monday. In the next two games, both wins, he received 15:58 and 11:13 of ice time and finished, surprisingly, even in both games since this was written)


I have to speculate that playing alongside the classy, and fun, Ian Laperriere has helped the kid mature, and hopefully he becomes the good pest. When he is not going out of his way to create trouble he's an effective checking forward who teams well with McCormick, Lappy or Guite.