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Friday, September 21, 2007

The Cornish Conundrum: - Part 1

Two words bound to bring up a discussion that will nearly always lead to two very distinct camps when mentioned on most hockey forums on the internet, Jeremy Cornish. When discussing the Steelers enforcer there seems to be very little middle ground. Fans seem to either huge admirers or vocal detractors. But why?

As this is a fight site, it is perhaps best to start off with what Jeremy is best known for, his fighting/enforcing ability.

It is perhaps in this area of his game where the difference in opinion between his admirers and detractors is very little, but still enough to cause some heated debate. His admirers would sometimes have us believe that he is a near unbeatable enforcer, capable of beating anyone and everyone with his lightning fast fists. His detractors focus on his losses, which although not many, have been at times brutal. And while they rate him as one of the better enforcers in the league they feel he is overrated. So which is the real Jeremy Cornish? For that, I feel we have to find that middle ground.

First off, the negatives. There aren't really that many, the main one being his chin. On more than one occasion Cornish has had to pick himself up of the ice after being TKO'd by his opponent, perhaps most notably last season when he was found wanting by Robin Gomez twice in the same match. Another blot on his copy book would be against Shawn Skiehar, hardly noted as being a great fighter but another TKO against Cornish. Losses to Mel Angelstad and Wade Belak also mark his card, but both of these players are in a different class to the majority of enforcers to have played in the UK, so Cornish shouldn't be marked down too much by this and his loss to Ryan Shmyr has been somewhat made up for in their subsequent fights. Clearly from these loses we can see he is very beatable by top enforcers and caught with a decent shot he can be put down. But then he's hardly the only one. Even the best come up short sometimes. Dennis Vial was dropped in dramatic style by Mike Ware only for Ware to be dropped twice by Vial in the rematch. So if can happen to two of the best enforcers we have had in the UK, surely it can happen to others too. Even Bob Probert lost a few times in his career.

So Cornish has had his fair share of losses, but given he has around 40 fights under his belt in the UK at times when the likes of Belak, Angelstad, Brett Clouthier and Eric Cairns have also been playing that would to be expected. But what about the rest of his fights? The general consensus seems to be that he wins the majority and while when you look through the names there may not be that many top heavyweights, most of the big name enforcers in the UK are on the list. And as the saying goes, you can only beat what is put in front of you.

So, where does this leave us. Clearly Cornish is beatable and has been on numerous occasions, but for the last three years he has consistently beaten the majority of his opponents. So while he may never have be top of the pile for enforcers in the UK, he has certainly always been up there with the best.

In part two, I will look at Cornish the player and ask whether or not he is worth an import slot in the EIHL.

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