BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) - Buffalo Sabres forward Patrick Kaleta was taken to the hospital for tests after absorbing a hit late in the first period against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday night.
Kaleta, who has had a history of head and neck problems, was boarded by Toronto's Mike Brown, who was assessed a penalty for the play. Kaleta skated off awkwardly with 2:26 left in the period and did not return.
"It's a neck injury," Buffalo coach Lindy Ruff said after the 4-3 overtime loss. "He was X-rayed here and they took a precaution. They took him for some further tests. I have no update."
The NHL has made hits from behind a point of emphasis in recent years, but Ruff didn't feel Brown's hit was dirty.
"I thought he was sideways," Ruff said. "Some of the obligation is on the player (being hit). He wasn't defenseless. It's a tough area. It wasn't a blatant (example of) run a guy from behind.
Captain Jason Pominville said "Again, this is a tough call. It happened so fast and I don't want to say anything against the refs either but, I mean, they are in a tough position, but I think obviously from our side we would have hoped more than [the penalty that] was given to [Brown]. [Kaleta]didn't come back into the game and we lose a key player on our team because of the hit that we felt was from behind, but there's nothing we can do about it besides kill it off and go back to work. But we got to give credit to [Mike Weber], who stepped in, and so we will take that penalty anytime." Weber went right after Brown and fought him immediately after Kaleta was hit.