Patrick Kaleta is one of those repeat offenders that Brendan Shanahan has targeted, much like Kaleta targets the heads of his opponents.
After the Buffalo Sabres forward put a shoulder to the chin of Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Jack Johnson last week, the NHL had seen enough: Kaleta was handed a 10-game suspension by the League on Tuesday, despite not injuring Johnson on the play.
“It’s important to note that no matter who delivered this hit, it would have resulted in supplemental discipline,” said Shanahan in the suspension video.
“However, the fact that it was delivered by a player that has been fined or suspended six times in the last four seasons – the last time just 21 games ago – factors heavily into this decision.”
Here’s the video:
From the NHL:
Buffalo Sabres forward Patrick Kaleta has been suspended for 10 games, without pay, for an illegal check to the head of Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Jack Johnson during NHL Game No. 49 in Buffalo on Thursday, October 10, the National Hockey League’s Department of Player Safety announced today.
Kaleta is considered a repeat offender under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement and, based on his average annual salary, will forfeit $152,439.00. The money goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.
The incident occurred at 3:10 of the first period. No penalty was assessed for the hit.
Kaleta already has served two games of this suspension while awaiting an in-person hearing that was convened this afternoon.
Getting a 10-game suspension for a play that wasn’t penalized and didn’t result in an injury seems like a recipe for Kaleta to seek an appeal through the NHLPA, and it’s difficult to think he won’t do just that, given the money he’s sacrificing.
While it might not sync up with previous rulings by the Department of Player Safety, Kaleta isn’t a typical offender. He’s a repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat repeat offender in the last four seasons and the kind of player the majority of fans want to see pay the price through supplemental discipline.
You can’t simply go by precedent when you’re dealing with a reckless, clueless player like Kaleta. Ten games may have even been charitable to that end.
The guy we want to hear from? Ron Rolston, coach of the Sabres, who called out Kaleta last season for missing five games due to suspension and then scratched him when he was set to return.
“It’s a situation where he understands that sitting out five games for him wasn’t a good thing and it wasn’t a good thing for our team,” said Rolston last season.
Wonder if that frustration has been doubled for the coach.
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