After Buffalo’s John Scott delivered a brutal hit to the head of Boston’s Loui Eriksson recently, earning a seven-game suspension, some critics started calling for more accountability from organizations for the players they employ. It would seem that the Sabres were listening.
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Patrick Kaleta was placed on waivers by Buffalo on Saturday in the midst of serving a 10-game suspension for a hit to the head of Columbus blueliner Jack Johnson in an Oct. 10 game.
Buffalo is last in the NHL, having garnered only five points from 15 games. This isn’t a move designed to make Buffalo a better team, though. General manager Darcy Regier, himself maybe not too long for Buffalo, said in a press release about the Kaleta move, “This was a move we thought was necessary to help Pat change his game and preserve his career in this league. We believe in Pat as a person and we hope he will continue his career in our organization and, if the circumstances are right, with the Buffalo Sabres.”
It’s somewhat rare to see an organization police itself. Kaleta has a much longer rap sheet than the hulking Scott, with three suspensions in the last two seasons including a four-game sitdown for headbutting.
The next step for Kaleta appears to be a rehabilitation stint with the Sabres AHL affiliate, the Rochester Americans, where the agitating winger will attempt a Matt Cooke-esque transformation. While Cooke still attracts opposing teams’ hate like a magnet, the Minnesota winger’s no longer the headshot artist he once was.
There may be hope for Kaleta reforming his game, but with all the questionable plays he’s made over the years, it won’t be easy for him to reform his image.