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BTB BLOG: HAS THE "CODE" CHANGED?

by Brian Wheeler / Buffalo Sabres
Beyond the Boards is written by the Buffalo Sabres Website Manager, Brian Wheeler. Joining the Sabres prior to the 2003-04 season, Wheeler is the main contact and content editor for Sabres.com. He has worked in the NHL, NFL, AHL and NLL over the past 11 years.  Click here to send him an email.


 
Patrick Kaleta (photo: Getty Images)
Late last week, an interesting story appeared on ESPN.com by The Hockey News reporter, Mike Brophy entitled "When does the 'code' go too far?"

The piece is based around the idea that fighting in the game isn't based on a code anymore, or if it is, it's been sewed since the time of "old-school hockey."   

In my opinion, Brophy's point is a valid one.  In the past, breaking the unspoken "code" involved hitting a star player or a cheap shot.  In either case, the offending player would be dealt with accordingly by the opposing squad.

So there's no violation within the  "code" when a player plays a clean, hard style, right?  

Doesn't seem that way anymore.  

If the aforementioned "code" is the accurate depiction of the ethics of the game, why all the hubbub over Patrick Kaleta?

In the past three games, Kaleta hasn't  touched a big-money player or delivered a cheap shot, but he's still being challenged, jabbed and poked each contest by a combative opponent.

The Buffalo, NY native has spends half of his time on the ice looking for a target and the other half trying not to be one.

Kaleta registered a team high five hits Wednesday against New Jersey and then had to dodge an elbow  thrown by  David Clarkson in the third period.  Friday night was more of the same, as Kaleta got tackled and face washed by Shawn Thorton near the Sabres bench after turing from multiple challenges.

Think the Florida game was any different?  Think again.

On back-to-back trips down the ice, Kaleta gave a little poke to defenseman Bryan Allen deep in Florida's zone.  Five minutes later Allen popped the rookie in a scrum around the crease while he was standing up for teammate Adam Mair.

Make no mistake, Buffalo is reaping the rewards of Kaleta's bullish play.  He's drawing one to two penalties per game just for not dropping the gloves.

But what happened to player's respecting the "code"?  Or has the "code" changed?

Feel free to email me your thoughts...

You can read  Brophy's article by clicking here.
 
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