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Sabres’ Pat Kaleta Still Technically Lady Byng Trophy Candidate

03/06/13

Following a minor mishap and slight misunderstanding in New York City, the Buffalo Sabres’ Patrick Kaleta has been suspended 5 games. Kaleta and the Sabres were quick to alleviate concerns that this will affect his candidacy for the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy, which is awarded to the player that exhibits the best sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct during the regular season.

Sabres forward Patrick Kaleta, a Lady Byng front-runner

“Of course I’m concerned,” Kaleta said to reporters earlier today, “You start out the gate at the beginning of the season with that trophy in mind. It says everything. Y’know…someone that can play this game and be respected by his peers. Who doesn’t want that?”

Kaleta feared that the unfortunate incident in New York might hurt his chances to win the award. Someone who said he was Sabres coach Ron Roslton explained to Black and Blue and Gold staff why that is not necessarily the case.

“If you view the footage,” Non-Rolston went in to detail, “You can clearly see Patty nod in Brad Richards’ direction after the latter hit the boards head-first. As if to say, ‘Hey, buddy. Are you okay?’ Richards was clearly hurt, and Kaleta stayed clear of the officials as they looked after the superstar.

“You wouldn’t want to get in the way in that kind of situation. A true gentleman knows when an emergency is out of his skill set.”

Kaleta asking Richards if he’s okay. Notice he keeps his distance, as not to seem aggressive.

Indeed, the NHL Player Safety Committee pointed out that, under the new collective bargaining agreement, the five game suspension  along with the shortened season actually helps Kaleta’s chances of winning the Lady Byng. This is mostly due to the new “drop the lowest grade” clause when judging.

“Look,” a representative from the Player Safety Committee went in to detail, “Everybody messes up. In fact, a true gentleman is someone whose mettle is tested in this manner. Any guy off the street can be upstanding 100% of the time. But the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy needs to go to a player who has what we call a ‘montage moment’.

“This shortened season, we’ve instituted methodology where we take a player’s worst game, be it in penalty minutes or a game misconduct or a fight or whatever, and it just simply vanishes. Poof! Like it never happened. This, we believe, gives everybody a second chance. The reasoning is that in seasons past, if a player had a game where they lost their cool then that was it. Their chase for the Lady Byng was over. And it actually encouraged more bad behavior, since the goal of the season was eradicated.

“This way, someone has a bad game? That’s fine. Get back on the horse! We’re all rooting for you, Pat!”

The committee also recognizes extra-curricular work, such as Kaleta demonstrating proper stretching techniques to fans of opposing teams.

Brendan Shanahan, the National Hockey League’s Vice President of Hockey and Business Development and head disciplinarian, explained why the 5 game suspension was warranted. But also why, perhaps, Kaleta should see it as a good thing.

“These kids need a bit of discipline, but they don’t need their Lady Byng Memorial season to be over on the first infraction,” Shanahan took a break from coaching inner city squirt hockey, offered BBG staff some hot cocoa, and played some smooth jazz to lighten the mood.

“I told Pat, ‘Kid…you’re a good seed. You’re all good seeds. I just wish there were enough games for everybody to play them all.’ But the five game suspension isn’t just good for posterity. It’s five more games that he doesn’t play, which actually brings up his average. Since he won’t be on the ice during those five games, they can’t possibly work against him.

“I encouraged Pat to maybe take those five games and consider giving back. Picking up trash on the roadside. Giving meals to the homeless. Or even just taking a moment and meditating on what his purpose is. I think he’ll come back from the five games off a bigger man than all of us.”

Shanahan apologized and asked us to excuse him, as he felt the sudden inner-most need to wash the feet of every poor soul that walked the street outside.

“I know they were talking about judging the Lady Byng on a bell curve,” Kaleta told BBG staff, “But I’m kind of glad they didn’t. It doesn’t seem fair to the rest of the league for one player to bring up the average, another player to bring it down.

“By simply dropping the lowest grade, it still puts the responsibility on me. And on everyone. In the end, regardless of who wins the trophy, I feel like that makes us all better people. On the ice, and in the heart.”

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