Buffalo Sabres right wing Patrick Kaleta (36) and New York Rangers center Derek Stepan battle for a loose puck in first period action during their NHL hockey game at Madison Square Garden in New York, February 25, 2012. (REUTERS/Adam Hunger)
The NHL took out the trash Monday and suspended the Buffalo Sabres' Patrick Kaleta five games for hitting the New York Rangers' Brad Richards from behind.
The Sabres agitator was given a major penalty and a game misconduct in Sunday’s game at Madison Square Garden after he shoved the star forward, who then tumbled head-first into the boards.
Before the punishment was doled out, Kaleta told The Buffalo News that he felt like a “bag of garbage” for putting his team down a man for five minutes, during which the Rangers scored two goals.
He also insisted that despite his poor reputation he’s changed his game for the better.
“I have changed my game. I know I have,” Kaleta said. “I know players have seen that, and even referees have came up said, ‘Hey, I respect what you’ve done so far. As long as you keep showing that respect towards us, then we’ll respect you.’
“I loved hearing that and know that they’ve seen a change in my game, so I know I’ve changed my game.”
Don’t tell Brad Richards, who told ESPN about the hit Sunday: “That’s not even a head shot. That’s stupidity.”