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Hand injury sends Kaleta to an early exit

Patrick Kaleta isn't going to change his style of play. It's just not in his nature. There are consequences to going all out when injured, though, as Kaleta has learned.

The Buffalo Sabres' right winger, who has a new cast on his broken left hand, lasted just one period against the New York Islanders on Friday night. Kaleta dived to block a shot Thursday night in Boston, a common occurrence. But he blocked it with the left hand, which was already in a cast after getting broken by a shot Dec. 28 in Edmonton.

"I took that slap shot right off the spot I've been milking for a little while here," Kaleta said. "Not the luckiest person in the world, but it's my job to bring that part of my game along. I needed to block a shot, and I did. I was unlucky enough that it was in the same spot."

X-rays revealed no new damage, so as long as Kaleta can deal with the pain he can play. It got to be too much as he didn't return for the second or third periods.

Forward Cody McCormick joined Kaleta on the sidelines for the final 20 minutes. He fell ill and played just 7:27, all in the opening two periods.

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The Sabres have named Sean Green, the executive director of Hasek's Heroes, as the 2011 recipient of the J. Michael Duffett Memorial Award. Green was honored prior to Friday's game with the award, given annually since 1984 to a coach who contributes to amateur hockey in Western New York.

Green, who is also the head coach of the Williamsville South varsity team, has been involved with Amherst Youth Hockey for the past 20 years. Green played as a kid and was coached by Duffett, who worked in the Sabres' hockey department under Scotty Bowman and Roger Neilson and died after a long battle with cancer.

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The Sabres announced that "Aces and Blades" will return for the sixth straight year. The fundraiser, which features players as casino dealers, will be held from 7 to 11:30 p.m. Feb. 11 in HSBC Arena.

Tickets for the event are $125 each, or $110 per person in a group of five or more. There will be gaming, food and drinks, and live and silent auctions of sports memorabilia. Tickets can be purchased at Sabres.com or by calling 855-4417.

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The Sabres are conducting an online auction of game-worn home and away jerseys from the first half of the season. The jerseys are available for bid on the auction section of Sabres.com.

The blue home jerseys were worn from the preseason through the first 19 home games of the regular season, ending with the Dec. 23 game versus Florida. Each jersey includes the Hockey Hall of Fame patch that was worn during the Nov. 6 game at Toronto (excluding the players who were scratched). The white away jerseys were worn from the preseason through the first 21 road games, ending with the Jan. 8 game at Phoenix. The home jersey auction ends at 9 p.m. Sunday. The away auction ends at 9 p.m. Monday.

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The Sabres "Road Crew" will make its second stop of the season Feb. 28 in New York. The event, which requires a $10 donation to the Sabres' foundation, will include chicken wings, drink specials and giveaways at McFadden's Restaurant & Saloon (800 Second Ave.). Tickets can only be purchased at the Sabres' website. The event is the evening before the Sabres visit the New York Rangers and features visits by Lindy Ruff and broadcasters Rick Jeanneret and Harry Neale.

e-mail: jvogl@buffnews.com

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