RALEIGH — Troy Bodie of the Carolina Hurricanes says he may watch a little more video than the average NHL player.
"You've got to do your homework," Bodie said, "and I find myself doing a lot."
But it's not so much studying the Boston Bruins forecheck or, say, how Mats Zuccarello of the New York Rangers scoots around in the offensive zone. Bodie often is found checking out HockeyFights.com on his laptop, seeing who has the best right cross or left hook, scoping out the cheap-shot artists of the league.
"You really have to know a lot because you know they're doing the same homework on you," Bodie said. "You don't want to be a step behind them.
"You have to find out about the players who fight and what kind of fighters they are. You need to see if they're right-handed or left-handed. You catch the wrong hand ..."
And it could be a bloody lip. Or worse.
When the Hurricanes and the Rangers last played, Jan. 5 in New York, Bodie dropped the gloves and went at it with Rangers toughie Brandon Prust. The fight lasted about 45 seconds, an eternity when you're spinning around on skates and trying to land haymakers. Bodie was left with bloody knuckles.
Bodie and Prust may renew their acquaintance tonight at the RBC Center as the Canes host the Rangers. Or as Bodie puts it, they might "exchange unpleasantries."
Then again, Bodie may just play. Against the Bruins on Monday, the 6-foot-4, 213-pound forward duked it out with Adam McQuaid late in the Canes' 7-0 loss in Boston. On Tuesday, he was content to try and break Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg in half with a thunderous cross-body check at the RBC Center - a clean, hard hit.
Bodie's teammates were banging their sticks on the boards by the bench after the McQuaid fight. It's the kind of thing that earns respect from your peers and praise from your coach.
"I don't know that it does anything for the team that late in the game, but it makes me like him a whole lot more," Maurice said. "There didn't seem to be a tremendous amount of pushback from a lot of players. I don't think he went looking for it - it came to him. But it came to him because he was doing the right things in the game, finishing his checks, playing hard.
"I like this young man. I think there's a lot he can do for our hockey club. I think he's got a place here for our team."
The Canes claimed Bodie off waivers from the Anaheim Ducks on Nov. 16, looking to add toughness and a fourth-line banger. Bodie, 25, was well-traveled, having played and fought his way through the East Coast Hockey League and American Hockey League - he was in 16 AHL fights in 2007-08.
"I never threw a punch until junior rookie camp," he said. "I just tried it. In junior [hockey], I really had to do it to kind of stay in the lineup, then I started liking it a little more. Everywhere I've gone in my pro career, I've had to do it to survive."
While with the Iowa Chops of the AHL, Bodie said he tangled with Scott Ford of the Milwaukee Admirals in what he said was his longest hockey fight.
"We went a minute and a half, just throwing 'em," he said, smiling. "But it was the second period, and I was playing on the top two lines. I was bagged for the game."
Off the ice, Bodie is as personable as he is rugged on it. He has a Twitter account (TroyBodie) and once won a sushi-rolling contest in Los Angeles while with the Ducks.
Bodie is a native of Portage la Prairie, Manitoba. It's a town of 13,000, about 45 miles west of Winnipeg, and is said to be the sunniest place in Canada during the warm months.
A ninth-round draft pick by the Edmonton Oilers in 2003, Bodie did not play his first NHL game until January 2009, when the Ducks faced the Pittsburgh Penguins. He believed he belonged in the NHL and started this season in the Ducks' lineup.
"In the summer, I saw a bunch of the tough guys were with teams in the Eastern Conference," he said. "I said, 'Good, keep 'em in the East.'"
Then, he came to the Canes. In the East.
"I knew it would be tougher, and I knew I was coming here to fill that role," Bodie said. "That's fine. That's what I want to be."
firstname.lastname@example.org or 919-899-8945