There has been plenty of discussion in the Buffalo Blogosphere and MSM regarding the recent antics of Patrick Kaleta. If you're unsure what I'm talking about, Bucky Gleason spells it out nicely for you. Bucky isn't the only one discussing the recent play of Kaleta, the boys at the Goose's Roost are sharing their thoughts as well. They have completely different takes on the situation and both make valid points.
Yeah, I know, there’s the unwritten code among tough guys that says players should be accountable for their actions on the ice. Here’s a secret: Kaleta doesn’t give a hoot about the code. The only thing he cares about is winning, and so far he has contributed more to winning than O’- Brien, Mara, Witt and O’Byrne have combined.
The Roost says...
Listen, you all know I love me some Pat Kaleta, but what happened with Paul Mara makes a whole lot of sense in hindsight. Kaleta has gained a bit of a reputation over his brief stay in the NHL, and last night he lived up to the downside of that reputation.
As I said, two very different takes on the same subject. or the record I agree with Bucky and Kevin from BfloBlog regarding this topic. Kaleta is well aware that he is not as talented as some of the other players but he fills an important role for this team. He does whatever it takes to win and if that means taking a few punches, he'll do just that. I also agree that at some point he has to drop the gloves but that time will come.
There is also the question as to whether or not he crossed the line when he taunted Mara from a previous injury. It's certainly possible that he did but that is what players like Kaleta do. He is in the same mold as guys like Sean Avery and Darcy Tucker in that regard. It's often said "you love him if he's on your team but you hate him if he's on the other team".
I don't think this is really about what he said, as much as how he reacted. Mara felt like he should have dropped the gloves instead of protecting himself and drawing a five minute power play. There are plenty of things said on the ice during a NHL hockey game and this probably fits into the borderline category. If he would have fought Mara we probably would have never heard about what he said. Mara was going to try to get retribution one way or another but Patty didn't reciprocate.
I'm fine with the way he plays and he will need to continue playing that way to be an everyday NHL player. He has already earned the reputation as an agitator and I expect the referees will be aware of it now. He will start to get penalties for his antics on reputation alone but he can't let that affect his style of play. If he does he will become an ineffective player and will lose his edge on the opponent.