Patrick Kaleta has had to answer the questions surrounding his status with the Buffalo Sabres all offseason, and he has said all the right things.
Kaleta has repeated again and again that he will continue to work hard to make the active roster, even as he finishes his recovery from a gruesome leg injury that ended his last season. Kaleta refuses to speak ill of Darcy Regier, who sent the controversial forward down to Rochester after being suspended, and Ron Rolston, who really had no business being a water boy in the NHL, let alone a head coach. Still, these things should be addressed.
Regier tried to make an example out of Kaleta, who consistently plays on the edge of the rule book. His passion and grit are tough to match, but his play often comes with consequences. Kaleta has been suspended four times in six years, labeling him a repeat offender. Still, he's a player that Ted Nolan could easily fall in love with, and likely already has.
Rumors were swirling that Kaleta was set to be called back up to Buffalo following his last game for Rochester. Unfortunately for Kaleta, that was the game that he suffered the injury that ended his season. Still, with this season starting fresh, and with the roster loaded with young talent, Kaleta's role could be more meaningful than ever. Kaleta is a veteran presence, who will stand up for his teammates and dictate physical play. He could easily fill a role on the fourth line, which could give them at least one heavy hitter on all four lines, considering Marcus Foligno, Zemgus Girgensons and Chris Stewart will all be healthy and playing for the team. The Sabres have stressed their desire to be a tough team to play against, and Kaleta is the perfect type of player to achieve that goal, if he can stay out of trouble.
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