By Mike Harrington
NEWARK, N.J. -- Patrick Kaleta's season is over, ending Friday night in Rochester when he suffered a torn ACL to his right knee during the Amerks' win over Lake Erie. That's the word from a Buffalo News source and coach Ted Nolan pretty much confirmed that prior to tonight's game against the New Jersey Devils while adding this bombshell:
Kaleta was rejoining the Sabres for practice on Monday and was likely going to be in the lineup for their next game, Thursday in First Niagara Center against the New York Rangers.
Obviously, that won't happen now.
"It doesn't look good and that's usually the case right there," Nolan said when asked if he could confirm the injury was season-ending. "We're hoping it's not but it possibly could be."
As we posted earlier today, Kaleta was injured when he somersaulted over Lake Erie goalie Calvin Pickard while cutting in on the goal and his knee struck the crossbar. The injury came late in Rochester's 5-3 win and Kaleta had to be helped off the ice, putting no weight on his leg.
"You can tell he's a little down but he's a strong guy," said Sabres winger Luke Adam, who spoke to Kaleta Saturday morning. "I told him that he'll be back and be stronger than ever. This is going to give him a lot of time to evaluate his game and how it's gone. When he came down, he was nothing but professional and I can't say enough good things about Pat and how he handled it."
The Sabres just lost Corey Tropp on waivers Wednesday, a move that didn't seem too bad on the surface but now is magnified by the Kaleta injury that ruined the Angola native's return to the NHL after his 10-game suspension and trip to the minors.
"It was in the works," Nolan said. "We had to get him back. He had to get some more games and unfortunately things like that happen. We were definitely going to bring him back."
As for tonight's game, Nolan confirmed Jhonas Enroth will start in goal but the coach has decided to keep Mikhail Grigorenko and Brayden McNabb in the press box. They sat out Friday and Nolan said they would return tonight but he doesn't want to change a winning lineup after Friday's overtime victory over Toronto.
"It's one of those things where you have to have a reward system," Nolan said. "We were planning on so and so taking so and so's spot, but so and so played pretty well so we can't do that."
Cory Schneider will be in goal for the Devils so there will be no matchup of Ryan Miller vs. Martin Brodeur tonight.
Click below to hear Nolan's entire pregame session where he discusses topics such as the lineup, Kaleta, and finding emotion when the team is not playing the Maple Leafs.
taggedPatrick Kaleta | Rochester Amerks | Sabres game day