Buffalo Sabres veteran Cody McCormick has played his final game.
The Sabres announced Monday that McCormick, 32, will be forced to retire due to blood clots that began in his leg and spread to his lungs in January 2015. McCormick blocked a shot in a game against the New York Rangers on Jan. 3, 2015, and the impact caused blood clots to form which then spread to his lungs and briefly hospitalized the winger. Now, more than a year after he last laced up his skates to play for the Sabres, McCormick has decided to err on the side of caution.
“Cody McCormick is not going to jeopardize his life or his family by trying to play again,” Sabres GM Tim Murray said, via the Olean Times Herald’s Bill Hoppe. “We support him in that. He was around this winter and did some other things when players were rehabbing. So I don’t know if that’s going to be a future thing or not. That’s something that he dabbled at and seemed to like.”
McCormick is the second player this season to retire because of blood clots, as a similar ailment put Pittsburgh Penguins veteran Pascal Dupuis on the shelf and saw him hang up his skates. However, like Dupuis, McCormick didn’t immediately come to the decision to retire. He tried first to get healthy and potentially continue his career with the Sabres. McCormick told Hoppe he was taking a “precautionary dosage” of blood thinners, but he was never able to return to action. McCormick said he was always going to weigh the pros and cons of a return.
“I want to evaluate how much risk there might be to playing,” McCormick told Hoppe in December. “And if there’s any risk, it’s not worth it for me to try to play with where I’m at in life and put my family in the position where they would worry about me every game.”
McCormick added that he would seek the advice of medical professionals until he was “satisfied” that he’s explored his options. Whether or not McCormick sought the advice of medical professionals is unknown, but what is clear is that his time as an active player is over.
What becomes of McCormick’s final season of his three-year, $4.5-million deal is to be seen, but Murray noted the team could place McCormick on long-term injured reserve, but told Hoppe that may depend on what’s done during free agency.
McCormick ends his career with 405 games played, 21 goals, 65 points and 550 penalty minutes. He also suited up for 27 career playoff games, notching two goals and five points in the post-season.