Facing a suspension for his crosscheck from behind on Rangers forward Brad Richards, Buffalo’s Patrick Kaleta admitted today that he felt like a “bag of garbage” for putting his team in a bad spot, but he’s not willing to accept the accusation that he can’t be an honest player.
“I have changed my game. I know I have,” said Kaleta (audio), “and I know players have seen that, and even referees have come up and said, ‘Hey, I respect what you’ve done so far, and as long as you keep showing that respect towards us, then we’ll respect you.’ I loved hearing that, knowing that they’ve seen a change in my game. So I know I’ve changed my game.”
When asked if he had a message for Richards, Kaleta paused before saying, “I’m fine for right now.”
In July, the Sabres gave Kaleta a new three-year contract, at which point general manager Darcy Regier praised the 26-year-0ld for the “growth in his game.”
“I think at times he was probably guilty of being reckless, not for personal gain, usually for team gain, taking his hands in front of shots, stuff like that,” said Regier. “He’s learning how to adapt to the rules, how to become more valuable for the team. He’s a very good penalty killer. He’s a fearless player. He’s a tough player to play against, and I think you’ll really see his game grow over the next few years.”
Related: Tortorella calls Kaleta’s check ‘one of the most dangerous hits I’ve ever seen’
Following his stunning 41-game suspension, it looks like Raffi Torres has at least one former teammate in his corner.
We haven’t yet seen how the San Jose Sharks or the NHLPA are reacting to the league’s hammer-dropping decision to punish Torres for his Torres-like hit on Jakob Silfverberg, but Jason Demers decided to put in a good word for Torres tonight.
It was a simple message: “#FreeTorres.”
Demers, now of the Dallas Stars, was once with Torres and the Sharks. (In case this post’s main image didn’t make that clear enough already.)
Perhaps this will become “a thing” at some point.
So far, it seems like it’s instead “a thing (that people are making fun of).”
… You get the idea.
The bottom line is that there are some who either a) blindly support Torres because they’re Sharks fans or b) simply think that the punishment was excessive.
The most important statement came from the Department of Player Safety, though.
Those who feel as though the Boston Bruins may rebound – John Tortorella, maybe? – likely rest some of their optimism on the back of a healthy Zdeno Chara.
It’s possible that he’s merely limping into what may otherwise be a healthy 2015-16 season, but it’s definitely looking like a slow start thanks to a lower-body injury.
The latest sign of a bumpy beginning came on Monday, as several onlookers (including CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty) pointed out that Chara was listed on injured reserve.
As Haggerty notes, that move is retroactive to Sept. 24, so his status really just opens up options for the Bruins.
Still … it’s a little unsettling, isn’t it?
The Bruins likely realize that they need to transition away from their generational behemoth, but last season provided a stark suggestion that may not be ready yet. Trading Dougie Hamilton and losing Dennis Seidenberg to injury only make them more dependent on the towering 38-year-old.
This isn’t really something to panic about, yet it might leave a few extra seats open on the Bruins’ bandwagon.