Niagara Gazette

Pro Sports

August 1, 2012

Maturing game key to 3-year deal for Sabres' Kaleta

(Continued)

BUFFALO —

Don’t think Kaleta will lose all his aggressiveness, though.

“I like doing it, I like blocking shots, which you might find kind of weird, but I also like doing Legos,” said Kaleta, who still puts the plastic play sets together. “It’s a matter of changing my game and becoming more of a rounded person, taking more responsibility, and if I improve on that, I hope to have some minutes (again) like that this year, too.”

Of course, Kaleta has more toughness around him now, too. He doesn’t have to be the guy. He believes the recent additions of gritty agitator Steve Ott and 6-foot-8 enforcer John Scott will make the Sabres “tougher to play against.”

Kaleta and Ott fought once, March 10, 2010 in Buffalo. That bout made for an interesting encounter at teammate Mike Weber’s wedding recently.

“I was a little bit nervous going to Mike Weber’s wedding at first,” Kaleta said. “I met him, we buried the hatchet right away. When you play against somebody, you always don’t like them right off the bat. You’re like, ‘Oh no, how is this going to go?’ Off the ice, you realize he’s a great guy and a good teammate of mine.”

More than five years after Kaleta debuted for the Sabres, the novelty of playing for his hometown team hasn’t worn off. When word came the deal was ready Tuesday, he experienced “probably the best feeling in the world.”

“I started here wanting to play for the Sabres,” Kaleta said. “I play for the Sabres. Now I want to win the Stanley Cup. I’m going to do everything in my power to get there.”

xxx

With Kaleta inked, the Sabres’ only remaining notable restricted free agent is center Tyler Ennis. Regier said he spoke with Ennis’ agent Tuesday and planned to speak with him again Wednesday.

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