As Patrick Kaleta's 10-game suspension for a violent check on Jack Johnson came to an end, Buffalo Sabres general manager Darcy Regier made the decision Saturday to place the forward on waivers, rather than reinsert him in the lineup.
#Sabres GM Darcy Regier has announced that forward Patrick Kaleta has been placed on waivers.— Buffalo Sabres (@BuffaloSabres) November 2, 2013
With the Sabres attempting to rebuild from the bottom up—filling the roster with young prospects who need positive role models on the ice—the decision to cut Kaleta free from the team was a no-brainer. The Buffalo native may be a fan favorite for his rambunctious style, but he is also a loose cannon who has shown he has little to no discipline on the ice.
If no other team picks up Kaleta, he will end up with the Rochester Americans. Perhaps the humbling experience of returning to the American Hockey League will be a wake-up call for a player who desperately needs one after multiple fines and suspensions.
Darcy Regier on waiving Kaleta: "“This was a move we thought was necessary to help Pat change his game and preserve his career ..." (1/2)— John Vogl (@BuffNewsVogl) November 2, 2013
“We believe in Pat as a person and we hope he will continue his career in our organization and, if the circumstances are right ... (2/3)"— John Vogl (@BuffNewsVogl) November 2, 2013
"... with the Buffalo Sabres.” (3/3) Waiving of Kaleta comes after organization ripped across NHL for being out-of-control club.— John Vogl (@BuffNewsVogl) November 2, 2013
Brendan Shanahan and the rest of the NHL's Department of Player Safety have had their eyes on Kaleta—a consistent member of lists of the league's "dirtiest players"—for some time. If he can't learn to keep his reckless behavior in check, suspensions are just going to continue to get weightier.
Regier made the correct call Saturday to splash cold water on Kaleta. Should another team pick him up, the Sabres say "good riddance" to a player who may never learn. Should he remain with the organization, perhaps the hometown boy will eat some humble pie and come out of the experience as a better man.