was one of the last players off the ice at today’s optional morning skate, and that’s likely going to be his routine for the next week. Kaleta was handed a four-game suspension by NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan yesterday for his head-butt on Philadelphia’s Jakub Voracek at 4:58 of the first period in Wednesday’s game. He’s not eligible to return to the Sabres lineup until November 12 in Boston.
While Kaleta contends that he was simply trying to “push the guy off the puck,” he knows that he can’t let it affect his preparation.
“It’s obviously disappointing I can’t be out there with my teammates,” said Kaleta. “It is what it is. I’m going to do everything I can to take the positive out of it: get my body back 100 per cent, go over video, and just be prepared for when I get back so that I’m flying and don’t miss a beat.”
Kaleta also said the 20-minute conversation with Shanahan included a revelation that he can take with him going forward.
“(Shanahan) has watched a couple of our games and said he’s noticed a change in me, which is good. I’m taking positives out of that, and I’ll keep working at it … I’m trying to become a different hockey player.”
Lindy Ruff also expressed his disappointment in having Kaleta forced out of his lineup for the next four games, but realizes that it’s part of the league’s movement to eliminate hits to the head.
“I understand there’s a new standard. Pat’s been playing hard. He’s really worked hard at trying to tone down aspects of his game. At the same point, I understand that a line has gone up. When you go above that and have a reputation with previous incidents, the punishment could be stiffer.”
With Kaleta out of the lineup for a week, the Sabres made the call to Rochester for Corey Tropp
to fill his spot on the right side. The 23-year-old Tropp will make his NHL debut tonight against Calgary, after being told yesterday morning he could be getting the call to the big club. He then had to play the waiting game for few hours to get a final answer.
“The team was leaving was at 2 p.m. for Binghamton and I was told to stay back and have my phone on me,” explained Tropp. “If (Kaleta) wasn’t suspended, I would have to drive myself to Binghamton. If he wasn’t, I was driving to Buffalo. Obviously when I got the call it was really exciting, and I’m just happy to be here so far.”
Tropp has seven points (4+3) in 10 games with the Amerks this season, and is tied for the team lead in goals. A native of Grosse Pointe, Michigan, Tropp collected 40 points in 76 games in Portland last season, after playing the previous three years at Michigan State. Tropp was selected in the third round (89th overall) by the Sabres in the 2007 Entry Draft.
A gritty winger who can also find the back of the net, Tropp scored once in three preseason games for the Sabres this fall after an impressive week at the Traverse City Prospects Tournament where he scored the game winner in Buffalo’s championship win over the New York Rangers.
Ruff said his message to Tropp was a simple one.
“I told him I wanted him to score. I told him I wanted him to defend really well. And I told him if he got in a fight, throw ‘em with both hands.”
- Jhonas Enroth is expected to get the start in goal for Buffalo tonight, after stopping all 15 shots he faced in relief of Ryan Miller on Wednesday. Enroth said it doesn’t matter if he faces a team from the Eastern or Western Conference, his preparation is always the same.
“It’s a hockey game. I just go out there and play.”