Sabres' Patrick Kaleta suspended 10 games
Forward banned for illegal hit to the head of Blue Jackets' Jack Johnson
Buffalo Sabres tough guy Patrick Kaleta's lengthy disciplinary history caught up with him on Tuesday.
The forward was suspended 10 games by the NHL for an illegal hit to the head of Columbus Blue Jackets defenceman Jack Johnson during a game last Thursday.
The NHL's department of player safety made the announcement in a press release. Kaleta had been offered an in-person hearing on Friday by the league and has already served two games of the suspension while awaiting his fate.
NHL head disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan made it clear in a video explanation Kaleta's dicey disciplinary past played a role in the length of the ban.
"It's important to note that no matter who delivered this hit, it would have resulted in supplemental discipline," NHL head disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan said in a video explanation. "However, the fact that it was delivered by a player who has fined or suspended six times in the last four seasons — the last time just 21 games ago — factors heavily into the severity of the decision."
Kaleta's infraction occurred at 3:10 of the first period of the Blue Jackets' 4-1 win. Kaleta, a six-foot-one, 198-pound winger, skated through the neutral zone towards Johnson, who had just shot a puck at the Sabres' net while he was positioned along the sideboards.
Kaleta then levelled Johnson with a body check but appeared to catch the blue-liner's head with his shoulder.
"Although Johnson is eligible to be checked, Kaleta takes an improper angle, misses Johnson's body, and does not make a full body check," Shanahan said. "Instead, he hits Johnson directly on the chin with his left shoulder."
Kaleta was not penalized on the play but later got a five-minute fighting major for duking it out with Jared Boll, who came to his teammate's aid.
Johnson would stay in the game.
Kaleta will forfeit $152,439.00 in salary as per terms of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement. All of that money will go the Players' Emergency Assistance Fund.
The rugged Sabres forward was most recently suspended five games for his hit-from-behind on New York Rangers centre Brad Richards last March.