Buffalo, NY (WGR 550) -- Ask most players throughout the National Hockey League and they'll tell you the same thing: They wanted to be playing hockey a long, long time ago.
However, a line in the sand was drawn and the players missed over three months of action due to the NHL Lockout.
Count Buffalo Sabres forward Patrick Kaleta as one of those that would have loved to be playing. If there had to be a lockout, though, the timing couldn't have been better for him based on all the injuries that have plagued him throughout his five-year career.
"Oh yeah, definitely could be a blessing in disguise," Kaleta said Wednesday. "You always gotta take the most positives out of some things that may be negative. Even though I wanted to play hockey right from the get go, it might have been a blessing for me to rest in between injuries and maybe in the long run, get my career an extra couple of years."
Since the 2008-2009 season, the hard-hitting forward has missed 108 games over four years because of various injuries.
Now with a nine-month layoff in the rearview mirror, Kaleta says he's healthy and ready to go for the start of the 2013 regular season.
"Yeah, I feel great," he said. "It's good to go out and battle with your teammates and skate. Obviously it's going to be a lot different once we get games rolling and the physicality is gonna pick up a little bit. Obviously you don't want to do that on your teammates. Once that rolls around and you get in to games, I'm looking for us to have a good season and go from there."
Kaleta has been skating on the fourth line with Jochen Hecht and John Scott during the shortened training camp. He and the rest of his teammates will get the season started Sunday at home against the Philadelphia Flyers.