BUFFALO – Patrick Kaleta’s face was mangled.
“Broke a bunch of things in there,” the oft-injured Sabres winger said this afternoon following practice inside the First Niagara Center.
Kaleta said doctors inserted three plates and 14 screws after a shot hit him in the face during a Sept. 28 preseason game in Toronto. The 28-year-old has experienced blurred vision and migraines.
Still, less than three weeks after the scary incident, the Angola native is on the road back to game action. He skated with teammates for the first time today with a red non-contact jersey and a full face shield. He has no timetable for a return.
“Once I get the green light, I’m ready to go, whether my face is broken or not,” said Kaleta, whose right eye still has blood in it.
He added: “It was a rough spot there for a little bit, but I’m fortunate to be OK and be able to play hockey.”
Kaleta, who had surgery two weeks ago, said “everything else was crushed.”
“My fiancée’s still around, so that’s all that matters,” Kaleta joked.
For as scary as the incident was, Sabres coach Ted Nolan said, Kaleta “came out of it as good as you can.”
“We’re just really glad he’s back on the ice,” Nolan said. “He loves to play. He loves to play in Buffalo. He’s a Buffalo kid, so he’s all excited again.”
In other news, Nolan said defensemen Jake McCabe and Mark Pysyk are meeting with general manager Tim Murray this afternoon. A move or moves could be coming. Both have recovered from preseason injuries and are practicing. Pysyk said he hurt his shoulder.
Update: The Sabres sent McCabe and Pysyk to Rochester this afternoon.
Meanwhile, Nolan said struggling defenseman Andrej Meszaros, a healthy scratch Tuesday, will play Friday.