Even though the NHL is cracking down on head shots -- and he appeared in the league-issued DVD showing bad hits -- Patrick Kaleta told me today he won't be changing his game any more than he already has.
Kaleta has been more balanced on the ice this year, looking to score as much as he looks to run players from the opposite side of the rink. It's been a point of emphasis between he and Lindy Ruff since training camp.
"By no means am I going to stop hitting or not continue to play physical beause that's what I love to do and that's what brought me into the league," Kaleta said a few hours before the Sabres meet the Ottawa Senators. "But for myself to have more of an opportunity, I'm going to have to lay off a couple of them. If I want to play more minutes and be more of an asset to the team and contribute offensively, I'm going to have to do that."
Kaleta grinned sheepishly when asked about his role on the video, which the league has rated as mandated viewing for all coaches, GMs and players. He said the emphasis on eliminating blind-side hits is an important one.
"It's a step in the right direction," he said. "It's going to be on the players to decide whether a person is vulnerable or not. Even myself, you have to know to lay off if people turn rather than always trucking in there. It relies on the players and we have to take the responsibility knowing when a chance to get a good hit in is possible or if a guy is vulnerable."