A little story here. When I met the Jibblewife she wasn't a sports fan at all. She was athletic and played sports, but she never really watched sports at all. She could probably name about five pro athletes when we first started dating, other than guys like Michael Jordan who were insanely popular, and the athletes she could name were mostly Colorado Rockies and mostly because she attends the occasional baseball game with her folks.

That was in 2001. Just 7 short years later I get the following e-mail in my inbox from the Jibblewife:
You have officially converted me to the dark side. I thought I would back up my argument about Cody McCleod with a little bit of fact. He has fought 8 times since he was called up from Lake Erie on December 19th (although it sure does feel like more). Compare that to Lappy’s total of 12 fights for the entire season so far. McLeod has played 24 games compared to Lappy’s 45. I would’ve looked up Parker’s total, but he just doesn’t play enough.

Again, I’ll reiterate that I don’t dislike fighting. I really enjoy a good fight during the game. If nothing else it is a great way to get a team motivated and it’s highly entertaining for the fans. However, I believe McCleod’s fighting isn’t usually doesn’t help the team. Of the 8 fights that he has had, three of them have been with players that fight on a regular basis: Tollefsen from the Blue Jackets, Ivanan from the Kings, and Sutherby/Mr. Stache (Parros) for the Ducks. (Note: I chose not to list McIver as a true fighter since he has only played 10 games in the NHL. Although he sure is giving Mcleod a run for the title of “most fights by a call-up”). That means that 62% of the time (50% if you want to count McIver) he is choosing to fight players that don’t normally fight. I understand that not everyone he fights has to be a “fighter” but I would argue that a majority of them should be. There is a reason other people don’t pick fights with these guys. I will also add in that in NO games that he has fought has he ended the night with a “+” rating. Its either a 0 or a “–.”

I really don’t think this is the way McCleod should be establishing himself in the NHL. He has great potential as a physical Forward, but fighting with “non-fighters” will earn him a reputation that will hinder his success in the NHL. Atleast that’s my opinion.

Below are the specific stats.
  • Feb. 12 B. Sutherby (Ducks) 5 fights, but I have to give McCleod this one too because Mr. Stache (aka Parros) started the fight but for whatever reason Sutherby jumped in to finish it.
  • Feb. 9 N. McIver (Canucks) 4 fights after being active for the Canucks for only 10 games. I think he’s trying to be a mini-McCleod.
  • Feb. 6 M. Grier (Sharks) 1 other fight all year and it was against Calgary
  • Jan. 20 Ole-Kristian Tollefsen (Blue Jackets) I'll give him this one he appears to be the thug
  • Jan 15. K. Wanvig (Lightning) Wanvig has just the fight with Cody (To be fair he was called up on Jan 5)
  • Jan 2. D. Winnik (Coyotes) Just the fight with Cody
  • Dec 29 R. Ivanans (Kings) (and a misconduct this game) I’ll give him this one too. This guy fights a lot.
  • Dec. 21 B. Dubinsky (Rangers) Dubinsky has 3 fights all year. He also got a roughing with P. Mara in this game who has no fights
Sincerely, your officially corrupted wife.
First I have never been so proud of anything in my entire life as I am on the sports corruption of my once innocent wife. From never watching sports to looking up fighting stats to prove her point about an obscure Avalanche forward. I have taught her well and her journey to the dark side is complete. This seriously must have been how the Emperor felt after converting Anakin Skywalker (Yes I'm a Star Wars Nerd).

Second, not only was the e-mail informative, but she's right. I keep thinking back to the play where there was a touch up for icing and McCleod hammered the opposing defenseman after the icing touch-up. I have been particularly hard on the Calgary Flames Dion Phaenuf because I feel he's a coward. He only fights players who he can win against and usually takes runs at defenseless players or non-fighters. Nothing pisses me off more than this, and it's what makes guys like Jordan Tootoo, Steve Avery, Brad May and yes Phaenuf utterly hate-able is that they are basically bullies who don't actually fight with anyone their own size.

So umm yeah. If McCleod doesn't tone it down a little he's really no better than any of the Ducks, and after watching that game last night that isn't a compliment.