So a point was brought up in the comments on Sunday about Pat Kaleta. I’ll let “anon” do the talking for me:
What exactly is the problem with Kaleta playing by the rules? The worst that can happen is that he gets a bad rep. Right now all he’s doing is frustrating people…which leads to retaliation penalties. If it comes down to it, the kid isn’t going to run. Pointless fighting is stupid. When he needs to, he will.
I think the overall opinion of Kaleta has been very positive, but the concept of a bad reputation hasn’t been addressed often. So I asked some people what they thought of the kid. Here’s what I got:
Chris: Kaleta needs to step up eventually and fight someone at the NHL-level. It’s great that he draws penalties and frustrates the heck out of his opponents, but he’s earning a very bad reputation. He’s going to need to drop the gloves soon, even if it’s just once, to prove that he’s not a complete turtle.
Rich: I mean, honestly I’d still rather have Kaleta skating around like a cruise missile for 7 minutes a game hitting people than Petey spending 52 minutes on the bench, 3 minutes on the ice, 5 minutes in the box and 90 seconds in between attacking someone’s hand with his face.
Jon: I have no problem with Kaleta’s lack of fighting. He’s not an enforcer so much as he is an agitator. He’s out there to hit everything in sight, to inject some energy into his team and the crowd, and the draw penalties — not to fight. He isn’t Andrew Peters. Fighting is all but dead in the “new” NHL as it is, so Kaleta can back down all he wants as far as I’m concerned.
Whoa, whoa Kimbo, we don’t want him to kill someone, just drop the gloves.
Yeah… we… we’re good.
The general consensus I got is that Kaleta is doing his job at the moment, and eventually he will have to step up and fight. It’s not really a choice, but an eventuality that will come to fruition when the time is right. In the meantime we may hear words like “turtle” or “nancyboy” tossed about.
I’m sure the kid can take it, but the fact of the matter is that reputation is important in this league, even in the “New NHL”. It is better to have a reputation built out of fear rather then embarrassment, so it is only a matter of time before we see what this kid is made of.