Buffalo - November 13, 2014 - The Sabres are mired in an awful, hideous season where they look like an overmatched junior team against the rest of the NHL.
They need something, anything to make them somewhat competitive and get going in the right direction. And you know what that something is? The return of Patrick Kaleta!
Wait a second. That guy is still in the NHL?
It’s been a year since Kaleta suited up in the NHL thanks to a combination of suspension, demotion and injury, but he’ll be back with the Sabres on Thursday night. The biggest question, though, is “why?” Why on Earth would the Sabres – already a laughingstock, mind you – employ a guy with his history?
He’s a Buffalo native. Really, that’s it. He grew up a Sabres fan in Buffalo and that’s the only reason he’s still on the team.
Honestly, that has to be the reason because he doesn’t bring anything valuable to the table anymore. At his best, he was an agitator that brought a much-needed physical element to the table. But injuries limited his effectiveness and he soon started earning attention for the wrong reasons: he was given four games for headbutting Jakub Voracek, the third time in two seasons he’d done so. He ran Brad Richards from behind and got five games for that. The final straw came last October, when Kaleta head-hunted Blue Jackets’ defenseman Jack Johnson. Due to the nature of the hit and his repeat offender status, Kaleta was given 10 games off and placed on waivers by the Sabres.
With that kind of track record, it was little wonder then-GM Darcy Regier sent Kaleta to Rochester of the AHL to “make significant changes to his playing style.” He’s become Matt Cooke, minus the valuable contributions Cooke actually makes to his team.
Things are already bad enough for the Sabres. They can barely generate shots, let alone score actual goals this year. They’re getting blown out night after night in embarrassing fashion. They don’t need a 28-year-old agitator who can’t get near the line without elbowing it in the head.
Move on from this scrub, Buffalo. The Sabres have given him enough chances.
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