His fight and his short-handed goal made Patrick Kaleta one of the key players in Friday night's win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. But Kaleta played just 3 minutes, 27 seconds Saturday in Montreal, although he was on the bench for most of the third period of the 3-1 loss. Frankly, in the crush of a Saturday night deadline, myself and the other three media members on hand for Lindy Ruff's press conference forgot to ask the coach if it was an injury or a benching for unknown reasons.
Turns out is must have been an injury. Kaleta is not on the ice as the Sabres open practice today in HSBC Arena. Also missing, as expected, are the injured Tim Connolly and Rob Niedermayer.
I would expect this to be a lengthy practice. The Sabres don't play again until Columbus comes to town Friday, in their longest respite of the season other than the NHL all-star break. Lindy Ruff can almost go back to training camp mode. Maybe he should spent part of the practice with the goalies out of the net so his shooters can get come confidence back.
With so many guys out of the lineup, Chris Butler is skating with the forwards today just so the four lines can be filled out. Drew Stafford is on a regular line and you would imagine Ruff wants to see him back in the lineup Friday. The lines look like this:
An eagle-eye on Twitter (thanks, PhilBBG) points out to me what even my eyes missed. No Colin Stuart. The betting is that Stafford is good to go and Stuart is back in Portland.
Post-practice update: Stuart is back in Portland. Kaleta reaggravated his bruised sternum Saturday in Montreal but coach Lindy Ruff is hopeful he'll be ready Friday.