By John Vogl
The Sabres have waived forward Patrick Kaleta.
The right winger was eligible to return from his 10-game suspension tonight, but instead General Manager Darcy Regier placed the Angola native on waivers. If not claimed by another NHL team, Kaleta will be eligible to be sent to Rochester.
“This was a move we thought was necessary to help Pat change his game and preserve his career in this league,” Regier said in a statement. “We believe in Pat as a person and we hope he will continue his career in our organization and, if the circumstances are right, with the Buffalo Sabres.”
Kaleta was not in First Niagara Center as the Sabres prepared to host Anaheim.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and league disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan took Kaleta to task following his latest suspension, given for his head shot on Columbus' Jack Johnson on Oct. 10. They issued the heavy ban because of his repeat offender status.
After John Scott followed Kaleta to the suspension list for his head shot on Boston's Loui Eriksson, NHL observers blasted the Sabres' organization as being out of control. The waiving of Kaleta appears to be a step toward improving the outside perception.
Kaleta is in his eighth season with the Sabres. The 27-year-old has played 306 games and recorded 506 penalty minutes, 27 goals and 24 assists.
"He’s a good, heart-and-soul player for us," coach Ron Rolston said today, "good teammate, plays hard, competitive, has been good on the penalty kill."