Pittsburgh Penguins v Buffalo Sabres

Patrick Kaleta knows that hockey people are calling him, well, “less-than-honourable” as a hockey player we’ll say, and doesn’t seem to think he deserves it. And “quite frankly,” he doesn’t seem to think his hit on Richards was all that awful either.

Note that those are both “seem to” comments, but I’m pretty confident here about my interpretation of his quotes here.

He went on WGR 550 sports radio in Buffalo today, and was asked about the hit. From the WGR550 site (via Kukla’s Korner):

Kaleta has seen the replay of the hit. He said, “I’ve watched it plenty of  times and I’m not going to get into it because, quite frankly I could, but I’m not going to because it’s over with and my focus now is forward and being able to help the guys when I can and when the time comes on the ice, I’ve got to go out there and battle for my teammates, give up my body and be a guy that people can look up at.”

Call me crazy, but “I’m not going to get into it because, quite frankly I could….” doesn’t exactly sound like “Yeah, I put him in a bad spot there, I feel bad about that” to me. That sounds like “I’m going to make it clear I didn’t think it was that bad without saying it and getting into trouble.

That’s just my opinion though, which could be wrong, you’ll be shocked to hear.

He is aware of what his latest problem hit has done to his reputation though. More from the same site (emphasis mine):

National hockey commentators like Don Cherry, Keith Jones and Nick Kypreos are criticizing Kaleta for his whole career. The winger said, “A lot of people are calling me scumbags, a dirty hockey player, but I play hard, I play on the edge. It doesn’t define me as a person, it defines one play that could be controversial either way so that’s the way it is.”

I asked him of it hurt him that a lot of prominent hockey people are calling him things like that. Kaleta said, “The can call me whatever they want to call me. People know me as a person and I know you guys and people in Buffalo see me as a hockey player, how I’ve grown and what I’m like on and off the ice so you guys know what kind of a person I am, they don’t, they see one play and judge a player and how you are as a person on that one play. To me that’s unfair, but people have their opinions and a lot of them are negative towards me, but I play for my teammates, my city, you guys, my family and my coaches.”

For sure. That hit definitely “could be controversial.”

Ah well. As long as he doesn’t seriously hurt anyone, I suppose it’s fun to have a full-blown heel in the league.