By John Vogl
Patrick Kaleta didn't even see Jamie McBain get dropped with a clean, hard check Sunday night. He just knew McBain was a new teammate and he wanted the Sabres defenseman to know that Buffalo players stick up for each other.
"He’s a new guy, and he’s got to be welcomed on the team," Kaleta said today in First Niagara Center. "He’s got to know that we have his back."
Kaleta and Cody McCormick went after Canadiens who leveled big hits during the Sabres' 5-4 victory in the preseason opener. Kaleta says he might not have challenged normally mild-mannered Alex Galchenyuk during the regular season, but exhibition games are a time to send messages.
"We want to establish that we are a team and no one is going to take liberties on old guys, young guys," Kaleta said. "You’re going to have to deal with all five guys on the ice. We want to establish that early. We want to be a team that’s tough to play against, and you’re going to have to go through five of us, not just one."
The Sabres play their second of seven exhibitions Tuesday in Columbus. To hear coach Ron Rolston talk about the first game, the play of first-round picks Rasmus Ristolainen and Nikita Zadorov, and look forward to the Blue Jackets, click the audio file below.
taggedPatrick Kaleta | Rasmus Ristolainen | Zemgus Girgensons