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KALETA ADDRESSES SUSPENSION

Sabres forward is appealing 10-game suspension

Friday, 10.18.2013 / 1:45 PM / News
By Chris Ryndak  - Sabres.com
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KALETA ADDRESSES SUSPENSION
Patrick Kaleta on his 10-game suspension, changing his game and talking to Matt Cooke.
     Patrick Kaleta

Patrick Kaleta may not be able to play, but he’s trying to make the most of his situation.

Kaleta, considered a repeat offender under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, is in the middle of serving a 10-game suspension handed down by the NHL for an illegal check to the head of Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Jack Johnson on Oct. 10. Kaleta has appealed the suspension, but is still unable to play.

He’s missed four games already and is eligible to return for the Buffalo Sabres’ home game against the Anaheim Ducks on Nov. 2. Right now, he’s just going through the process.

“There’s not much info I can give right now, but it gives me time to try to better my game, try to better myself and along the way, maybe help out some of the younger guys with some of the things I’m watching and seeing and seeing if I can help out in that aspect as well,” he said after practice at First Niagara Center on Friday.

Critics have said that Kaleta must change the way he plays in order avoid future fines and suspensions. He’s been fined and/or suspended four times in the past six seasons. Most recently, he was suspended five games for a hit he put on New York Rangers forward Brad Richards in March.

Kaleta says he’s already been working on adjusting his style and continues to do so.

“I’ve been changing my game over the past little while. Everyone who’s watched the Sabres and has paid close attention has seen it,” he said. “Like I said, I just need to keep continuing to get better and do what’s best for the team and try to be a positive influence on what’s going on here.”

Minnesota Wild forward Matt Cooke, who has a lengthy suspension history, reached out to Kaleta to offer advice on how to approach the game in a different way.

At first, Kaleta was surprised to hear from Cooke.

“It was kind of cool because as you guys know, I don’t really expect to have a lot of friends on other teams and stuff like that,” Kaleta said. “But it’s interesting because I don’t know his background or anything, but I’m assuming he’s worked pretty hard to get to where he is.

“We’re sort of in the same boat there so he kind of understands where I’m coming from and what I have to do to stay in the League and what I have to do to help out the team. It was cool in that aspect and I respect everything he said and hopefully I can use what he said and help myself and my game out.”

He would also look to talk to Cooke again if he needed to.

“When you’re on the ice together, you’re competitors and you’re going to battle, but if he can help me out in the same aspect and make me a better player for Buffalo then I’d be stupid not to use it,” he said.

Kaleta practiced again this week in a full-face shield. He injured his face in the game against Columbus.

“It’s good. I had a little surgery going on there, but if I could play, I’d be playing with it anyway,” he said. “I’m not too worried about the way my face looks or any of that stuff, so I’m good to go.”

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
C. Hodgson 72 20 24 -26 44
T. Ennis 80 21 22 -25 43
D. Stafford 70 16 18 -19 34
C. Ehrhoff 79 6 27 -27 33
C. Stewart 63 15 11 0 26
C. Conacher 79 7 19 1 26
T. Myers 62 9 13 -26 22
Z. Girgensons 70 8 14 -6 22
M. Foligno 74 7 12 -17 19
J. McBain 69 6 11 -13 17
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
M. Neuvirth 4 8 2 .921 2.78
J. Enroth 4 17 5 .911 2.82