Once again, I had bigtime plans to use statbits to prove a point (in this case, my point is that the Sabres cannot win unless Patrick Kaleta is in the lineup), and once again, STATBITS HAVE FAILED ME.
I did all sorts of hard hitting analysis/death-defying statbit crunching this evening only to learn that the Sabres’ record with Patrick Kaleta out of the line-up is…..(drum roll please)……dumdumdumdumdum……9-9.
This is another instance of statbits painting a picture that is WRONG WRONG WRONG, because anyone with eyes, ears, and a wonky brow can see perfectly well that Patrick Kaleta is an important cog in the wheel.
I’ll be honest, I haven’t always loved Patrick Kaleta. He’s a pest, and he’s good at his job. I find the whole pest profession to be undignified and difficult to cheer for, but you know what? He’s our pest. The statbits might not prove that the Sabres are helpless without him, but those of us who closely watch the Sabres know the truth: Patrick Kaleta makes enormous contributions every night that he’s on the ice. Patrick Kaleta keeps the other team a little off-kilter. Sometimes he draws penalties, sometimes he scores goals, and sometimes he hits Ovechkin hard enough that it makes sitting though a dull loss at the arena worth the time and the money spent.
Last night during overtime, Derek Roy missed on a glorious scoring opportunity, and before I was even done tweeting, “I’m a little glad Roy didn’t score there. I’m not in the mood for another ‘I made a mistake but then made up for it’ postgame interview” when Kaleta scored the winning goal.
I did not hesitate to feel good about a Patrick Kaleta goal. He did the deep knee bend, and the douchy hand twirl, and I felt happy for him, and happy for me as a Sabres fan.
Kaleta isn’t perfect. He’s not particularly good at hockey, and he’s not really hot, or funny, and he’s probably not eligible for Mensa membership, but his hard work on the ice means something, and he is one of us. He’s a good Sabre, a good Buffalonian, and somewhere along the way I realized that I enjoy cheering for him.
I hope he has better luck with the injuries from here on out, because I believe strongly that the Sabres are a significantly better team with Patrick Kaleta in the line-up. Statbits can suck it.