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Sabres' Kaleta happy to be playing again after fearing the worst

By John Vogl

UNIONDALE -- As paramedics stabilized his neck on a stretcher and prepared to take him to a hospital, Patrick Kaleta feared the worst.

"You get thoughts cruising through your mind there, hoping everything turns out all right, wondering if it’s my last game that I ever played, things like that," Kaleta said today in Nassau Coliseum. "Luckily, everything’s good and I’m able to come back and play."

Kaleta will return to the Sabres' lineup tonight after missing five games with the neck injury suffered Jan. 29. Toronto's Mike Brown boarded Kaleta, who turned his back on the approaching defender. Kaleta will do that in an attempt to draw a penalty, but he says it wasn't the case on that hit.

"That particular instance, I wasn’t planning on doing that because I didn’t see him coming," Kaleta said. "Obviously, you can say you’d do something different because the way the play ended up. But things happen for a reason, and I just roll with it."

Coach Lindy Ruff has made it very clear he doesn't want Kaleta to put himself in a vulnerable position again.

"I still think there’s a little bit of an onus on the player that’s attacking, but there’s an onus on the player that’s going to receive that hit, too, especially in Patty’s case, not to put your head in that position," Ruff said. "Drawing penalties in that fashion isn’t what we want. Drawing a penalty and injuring yourself for a couple weeks doesn’t make any sense."


Lindy Ruff | Patrick Kaleta
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John Vogl

John Vogl

John Vogl has been covering the Sabres since 2002-03, an era that has included playoff runs, last-place finishes and three ownership changes. The award-winning writer is the Buffalo chapter chairman for the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association.

@BuffNewsVogl |

About Sabres Edge

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington, a Canisius College graduate who began his career as a News reporter in 1987, has been covering the Buffalo Sabres since 2007. He is a member of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association and can vouch that exposed flesh freezes instantly when walking in downtown Winnipeg in January.

@BNHarrington |

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz, a native of Lockport, has a bachelor’s degree in journalism/mass communication from St. Bonaventure University and a master’s degree in humanities from the University at Buffalo. An endurance athlete, she has completed several triathlons, half marathons and marathons.

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