Kaleta wastes no time
Sabres tough guy gets bang for buck
BUFFALO — He skated only eight shifts in Game 1, but Patrick Kaleta threw four hits, drew four minutes’ worth of penalties on Zdeno Chara, and screened Tuukka Rask on the winning goal.
Not bad for the player who had the least ice time of any skater on either club.
“He definitely got the most bang for his buck on ice time,’’ said Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff. “He had the most fun. Created the most havoc. Looks the most beat up. Drew penalties. But that’s what he is. On the same side of it, he’s scored some real big goals for us. He’s done a lot. His energy for our team is something that’s been important. And he’s playing a little limited. He’s playing with a handicap, but still making the best of it.’’
Kaleta underwent surgery to fix a broken right thumb March 29. He is still wearing a cast on his hand. In Thursday’s second period, Kaleta was cut above the left eye, courtesy of a Steve Begin check.
After yesterday’s practice at
“Comes with the territory,’’ said the Buffalo agitator. “I don’t mind a black eye here and there, couple stitches. Just adds to the character.’’
After Game 1, when asked whether Kaleta had gotten under Chara’s skin, coach Claude Julien said he didn’t think his captain needed to go after a player who receives such little ice time. Yesterday, Kaleta brushed off Julien’s quip.
“It’s all right,’’ Kaleta said. “I’m not going to worry about what they’re saying. I’m going to do the same exact thing as I’ve been doing the whole year and the past couple years. People can say whatever. I’m going to go out, play my game, and do whatever’s best for my team.’’
Because of his abrasive play, the Buffalo native has few friends in enemy dressing rooms. It is a role the Bruins envisioned for Begin when they signed the ex-Canadien last summer. But Begin’s physical play has been lessened because of injuries.
“Pat’s got a job to do,’’ Ruff said. “He’s got to play hard. I think he’ll play even harder [this afternoon]. I think most of our guys will play even harder. We know of their desperation. They don’t want to go down 2-0. Their desperation will be greater. We know they’re going to be better. We have to be better, too.’’
“We hope so,’’ Julien said. “He’s back at the hotel now and doing much better. He’s had a battle with the flu. If everything goes well, I don’t see why he wouldn’t be back behind the bench.’’
If Ramsay returns, assistant coach Doug Houda will go back to his usual spot in the press box.
“Just playing the play hard,’’ said Myers. “I saw the scrum. I thought he was digging for the puck, so I went to finish my check. I think it’s pretty safe to say that my style’s not to go in looking to hurt guys. I was just looking to finish my check.’’
Fluto Shinzawa can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.