One member of the Sabres who might be a little relieved that Friday's game against the New York Rangers has been postponed is winger Patrick Kaleta -- who has been stranded in his home in Hamburg since the storm hit on Tuesday. Kaleta is an Angola native and is the only Sabres player who lives in the Southtowns.
Kaleta has played one game for the Sabres in the last 13+ months -- last Thursday in Minnesota -- after enduring a suspension, a trip to waivers, a season-ending knee injury last November and a severe facial injury from a puck to the face in September. He was a healthy scratch for Saturday's win over Toronto and had to sit at home and watch Tuesday's win over San Jose on television.
"It was horrible," Kaleta told The Buffalo News by phone from his home late this afternoon. "Horrible. There's nothing worse than not being able to get in there with your teammates, especially with my past year. I've had to sit and watch for a long time. It's not something I enjoy and it's aggravating to not be able to get to the rink.
The coaches have been awesome about caring about the guys not able to go there. It is what it is. There's nothing I can do about this but I'm definitely raring to get back to the rink."
While Kaleta is the only player stuck by the storm, members of the team's front office, training and equipment and public relations staffs have also been missing.
Kaleta and his fiance, Ashley Cook, have been holed up in the house since the storm hit and he estimates they have 5-6 feet of snow outside. Fortunately, she went grocery shopping on Monday so there is plenty of food. The power has been flickering but the house is hooked up to a generator and the fireplace is also on.
"I definitely sympathize for people living in the Southtowns," Kaleta said. "I'm like all the rest of them. I wish I could help more. I remember going to hockey practices when I was a kid and my dad and mom would get me through some deep stuff. I never remember anything remotely close to something like this."
Kaleta said he's been in contact with Hamburg police about the driving ban there and has been told there's no route for him to get downtown to the arena. He's hopeful he can make it to practice Friday -- or at least to the airport for the flight to Saturday's game in Washington.
"As of right now, I'm playing it by ear," he said. "It's really, really bad right now. Hopefully the snow will shift. Whether it takes all night or whatever we need to do, we're going to try to clear the driveway. I'm sure I'll be in contact with the Sabres and the police officers here to see if I can get to the arena if it's possible.
"Whatever is possible, that's what I'm going to do for sure. You know me, I don't like sitting around and watching. I get a little crazy."