BUFFALO – Agitating winger Patrick Kaleta, who was trying to develop a calmer style in the minors following a series of NHL suspensions, tore his right ACL Friday and is done for the season, according to the Buffalo News.
Here’s the kicker, though: Kaleta was going to be recalled from Rochester on Monday, interim Sabres coach Ted Nolan told reporters today in New Jersey.
“We were going to bring him up after the weekend,” Nolan said. “We spoke to him. It was in the works. We had to get him back. He wasn’t playing. He had to get some more games.”
Nolan wouldn’t say if the injury is season-ending.
“We’re hoping it’s not,” he said. “But it possibly could be.”
Nolan said he doesn’t “have the full report.”
“Hopefully, we’ll have a chance to see him tomorrow,” he said. “Right now, early indications aren’t very good. It’s unfortunate.”
The Americans released a statement saying Kaleta is out “indefinitely.”
The Sabres sent Kaleta to Rochester earlier this month, his first AHL assignment since 2007-08. The 27-year-old played seven times, compiling one goal, four points and two penalty minutes. He recently missed four games (lower body).
Nolan said he would’ve played Thursday against the New York Rangers.
It was believed the Sabres’ new regime – Nolan and Pat LaFontaine took over for Ron Rolston and Darcy Regier on Nov. 13 – would recall Kaleta. Regier acknowledged pressure from the NHL made the Sabres demote Kaleta, who has four suspensions in the last four seasons.
Kaleta barreled into the net on a partial breakaway and went up and over the goalie in the Americans’ 5-3 win against Lake Erie, according to the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle.
“The back of his right leg – right near his ankle or top of the skate – slammed hard into the crossbar as he somersaulted over (Calvin) Pickard and then fell to the ice,” Kevin Oklobzija wrote. “He essentially ended up in the net.”
Kaleta couldn’t put weight on the leg and needed help to the bench.
In other news, the Sabres used the same lineup Saturday against the Devils. Nolan had said before Friday’s 3-2 overtime win against Toronto center Mikhail Grigorenko and defenseman Brayden McNabb would likely only sit one game.
“You have to have a rewards system,” Nolan said. “We’re planning on so and so taking so and so’s spot. So and so played pretty well. You can’t do that.”