When the Buffalo Sabres brought over Rostislav Klesla and Michal Neuvirth in the trade that sent Jaroslav Halak and a third round pick to Washington, Klesla figured to be at best a solid injury call-up defenseman and at worst someone who could contribute to the Amerks playoff push.
Today, TSN's Darren Dreger reported that Klesla will not report to the Amerks, and says he is taking the rest of the year off from playing hockey, and will continue his playing career in Europe.
Klesla becomes the third player to refuse an assignment from Buffalo, following Linus Omark, who was subsequently released and is playing in Europe, and Mikhail Grigorenko, who decided to report to Quebec after a few days.
The man they call Rusty cited injuries as one reason why he's taking a break, but some have speculated that his banishment to the AHL may have also contributed. If you want to dig deeper, WGR's Matthew Coller points out that Klesla was put onto a stretcher during a preseason game this year by Kings forward Jordan Nolan, son of Sabres coach Ted Nolan.
Whatever the reason, this doesn't make the dismal state of the Sabres organization shine any brighter these days, especially on the heels of the Pat LaFontaine
dismissal mutually agreed upon parting of ways. Earning a reputation of having players that don't follow assignment orders isn't the type of thing a team in the throes of rebuilding needs. Hopefully, things will settle down a bit now that the deadline, and for all intents and purposes the season, is over.
At this time there's no indication of what, if anything, the Sabres will receive in compensation.
Klesla: ""With all due respect to the Sabres organization, I decided this week not to continue playing hockey this season"...— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) March 9, 2014
Klesla: "It has been a tough year for injury and moving several times to new teams. I will now take some time off...— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) March 9, 2014
....and get ready to continue my career in Europe. I would like to thank my fans and all the people that have helped me.".....— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) March 9, 2014
"I am grateful for the career I have had in the NHL and all the people that I have met along the way who have supported me and my family...— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) March 9, 2014