Jan 12, 2012, 11:21 AM EDT
Buffalo Sabres head coach Lindy Ruff knows Patrick Kaleta has a reputation throughout the NHL.
Now he’s concerned that reputation is affecting Kaleta’s ability to play the game.
After watching Kaleta receive two charging penalties in three games — calls he deemed questionable — Ruff told reporters he thinks Kaleta has a target on his back.
“Kaleta just can’t hit anybody anymore. He can’t,” Ruff told the Buffalo News. “Everytime he hits somebody it’s a penalty. He knows that. He can’t hit anymore.”
Kaleta most recent charging penalty came after he hit Mikhail Grabovski during the third period of Tuesday’s 2-0 loss to Toronto. Ruff was outraged by the call.
“I don’t think good hits should be taken out of the game,” he said. “I understand there’s a level of concern with what’s gone on with concussions but you can’t take good hits out of the game.”
That said, Ruff must know this situation is more about the player than the hits. Kaleta is widely regarded as one of the league’s dirtiest, annoying and most despised individuals and was recently suspended four games for serial headbutting.
In response to Kaleta (seemingly) getting penalized every time he hits someone, Ruff expressed concern that his chief agitator might be drummed out of the league.
“He’s going to have to change the way he hits,” Ruff explained. “He can’t come from a distance it looks like…it is disappointing.
“I’m worried. He’s a marked man, definitely a marked man.”
- Voracek turns monster season into massive eight-year deal 36
- Report: Canucks, Sutter closing in on five-year deal, north of $20M 24
- Voynov serving sentence at jail that once advertised it had flat screen TVs 45
- Report: Bernier and Leafs more than $2 million apart ahead of Friday’s arbitration hearing 10
- Flyers re-sign Couturier: six years, $26 million 40
- Benning calls Sutter a ‘foundation piece’ for Canucks 24
- Here’s a chart that shows which teams have been good/bad at drafting 40
- Penguins sign Fehr to three-year, $6 million contract 22
- Trade: Penguins send Sutter to Canucks for Bonino, Clendening 54
- NBC Sports to broadcast 105 NHL games in 2015-16 58
- Bettman says NHL would have to ‘consider’ putting Quebec City in the Western Conference (70)
- Rangers sign Stepan — six years, $39 million (62)
- NBC Sports to broadcast 105 NHL games in 2015-16 (58)
- Trade: Penguins send Sutter to Canucks for Bonino, Clendening (54)
- Voynov serving sentence at jail that once advertised it had flat screen TVs (45)