Mon Apr 25 12:56am EDT
Patrick Kaleta(notes) of the Buffalo Sabres is a pest, and a damn good one. The best ones combine physical abuse with serving as an insult comic on skates, cutting down their opponents with fists, sticks and verbal stones.
According to Jerry Sullivan of the Buffalo News, Kaleta got personal with two members of the Philadelphia Flyers during the Sabres' 5-4 overtime loss in Game 6.
Briere had been emotionally charged up, and more than a little angry, since early in the game. "Honestly, one of their young guys said something to me that was personal and crossed the line," the former Sabre said. "It got me fired up a little bit more than it usually does. That was probably a big part of it."
A Flyers source said Patrick Kaleta made comments to Briere and teammate Scott Hartnell(notes) about their divorces early in the Flyers' 5-4 overtime victory, which evened the Eastern Conference quarterfinal series at three games apiece.
Not only that, but Briere had two goals and Hartnell had the game-tying goal in the third.
Hartnell, you'll recall, was at the center of rumors about infidelity in the Flyers' locker room back in 2009. A tale about Jeff Carter(notes) and Hartnell's wife was denied by both players, and the rumor was eventually traced back to a Temple University senior that cited a Flyers employee as the source.
So if Sullivan's source is right: Over the line? Off limits? A pest gone too far?
Save it. Kaleta's got a job, and that job description requires dabbling in the tasteless, classless dark arts of the hockey chirp. It's Reggie Dunlop telling Tommy Hanrahan about his wife's preferences in "Slap Shot." It's a time-dishonored tradition.
For the Sabres, they should just be happy Kaleta kept it on the ice and didn't do something nutty ... like calling a press conference to mock an opposing player's love life. Because that would have cost him six games and a lobotomy from the NHL, at a minimum.