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
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| Jan 8, 2008, 9:47 PM EST |
Patrick Kaleta's all-out style is endearing to Buffalo Sabres fans. Unfortunately, the same can't be said about the opposition. The rookie took less than three minutes to make his presence known in New Jersey on Tuesday night.
Kaleta hoped the boards and screamed down the ice before face-planting Devils blueliner Vitaly Vishnevski.. Check one.
Then he went face-to-face with the same blueliner at the red line. Check two.
And then he threw a body check at an annoyed Vishevski one more time as he attempted to reverse the puck behind the net. Check three.
That's Kaleta's nature. He'll fly around the rink and hit anything in an opposing sweater.
The stats officials only credited the Buffalo, NY native with single hit in that exchange.
Kaleta's presence seemed to rub-off on his Sabres teammates. Buffalo played a more physical game than in some of their previous performances.
Of course, the New Jersey statisticians didn't take note. Buffalo finished the opening frame with a skimpy one hit. The Devils faired a little better, cashing out with two.
The men upstairs claimed that the Sabres were outhit in the game by New Jersey, 7-3. Those numbers seem low from where I'm sitting.
Nolan Pratt got his chance to be back in the Sabres lineup on Tuesday night at Nathan Paetsch's expense. Paetsch became a healthy scratch for the first time this season. Pratt had watched the team's last 11 games from the press box after dressing for 13 straight from Nov. 15 to Dec. 12.
Since signing with Buffalo on Nov. 1, Pratt has appeared in 14 games and has recorded a goal and four points. An early groin injury put him on the sidelines for four games following his Sabres debut.
Paetsch - one of only two Buffalo blueliners with a minus rating (Dmitri Kalinin, -4) - was one of only eight Sabres to appear in all 40 games coming into Jersey. That list is now down to seven: Brian Campbell; Paul Gaustad; Jochen Hecht; Toni Lydman; Jason Pominville; Derek Roy; and Thomas Vanek.
To quote tonight's Versus announcers in the Detroit/Colorado game, "the Red Wings know they will get quite a tongue lashing from their netminder if a screen is developing."
This statement couldn't be more true.
Ask any defenseman who's played with Dominik Hasek and they'll all tell you the same thing. Hasek would rather you let a long shot get through than try to block it. In conjunction with that, let someone get in his sight line you'll hear one of his favorite phrases.
"Can't See! Can't See!"
He's not quiet about it either. Hasek got his third shutout of the season - 79th of his career - in Detroit's 1-0 win over Colorado.
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