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by Erin Pollina / Buffalo Sabres
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Buffalo Sabres defenseman Nathan Paetsch has officially cleared waivers after being placed on them Monday afternoon.

For now, the rest remains unclear.

Head Coach Lindy Ruff said the team has not made a decision on whether or not the blueliner will be assigned to their AHL affiliate, the Portland Pirates, or remain in the NHL with the team.

Paetsch said he is doing his best to keep it in perspective and ultimately stay positive.

“Obviously I understand it’s a business and management has to do what is best for the team,” he said. “It’s a difficult situation, it’s not a position anyone loves to be in, but as of now I’m still here and that’s the best thing for me.”

Nathan Paetsch Interview
Lindy Ruff Interview
Pat Kaleta Interview

Ruff cited a healthy lineup as part of the reason the team chose to waive the 26 year old, as well as the desire to see him get some playing time.

“It’s been really tough,” Ruff said. “He’s been a good role guy, he steps in any time we want him to play, but he wants to play too at the same time.”

Paetsch has been a healthy scratch for 31 games this season as the team’s extra defenseman. His lone point of the season came Dec. 21 when he scored a goal against Toronto.

This is not the first time the Sabres have opted to place a player on waivers this year. Adam Mair went through a similar situation in November when he cleared and remained with the team. Since then Mair has played in 25 games with Buffalo, registering three helpers and 28 penalty minutes.

“You’ve got to stay positive and maybe I’ll be fortunate enough that it will happen to me,” Paetsch said. “I’ve been a Buffalo Sabre and in the organization for seven years now. That’s where my loyalty is and I want to have the opportunity to play here first and foremost.

“Emotionally it’s difficult. It’s difficult for my family and there are things you go through. But it’s understandable. I was prepared for it and it’s a situation where I was expecting that this day might come so I’ve just got to move forward and do what I do every day.

“I’m still going to be the absolute hardest working player out there if I get the opportunity. I have to do everything in my power to win with the Sabres.”

Pat Kaleta also addressed his status following practice today – in which he participated – saying that if needed to, he could ‘suck it up’ and play Wednesday when the Tampa Bay Lightning come to Buffalo.

 The winger was hurt Dec. 27 against the Blues after crashing into the net and suffering a lower body injury. [The game in St. Louis was Kaleta’s first since Dec. 19 – he missed the previous three contests due to a neck injury.]

Ruff did not know whether Kaleta would be ready, but said “He had a good day yesterday and an even better day today. He should be available for us tomorrow.”

The 2010 World Junior Championships will come to an end tonight when Team Canada takes on the United States in the Gold Medal game at 8 p.m.

Ruff said he wouldn’t mind the same match-up next year when Buffalo is set to host the prestigious event.

“I think it’s great. It’s just a great tournament. I think we’re going to be spoiled rotten having this tournament in our city. These kids play with a ton of energy, a ton of enthusiasm; there are a lot more mistakes inside of games. It’s not quite as structured as an NHL game. You get to see kids that you’re going to look back and say ‘wow I watched him in Buffalo. That kid was tremendous.’ I think its one heck of an opportunity  to land that in our city. With proximity to Canada, if we have a Canada, United States final next year again, it should be one heck of a game.”
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